atel is the most common Indian surname in the US, a new US Census Bureau study has found.
According to the Bureau, Patel ranked 172nd as the most common surname in America (Smith takes the top slot), way up from its 591 ranking in 1990. The total number of Patels in the US stood at 145,000.
The study was based on returns from the 2000 census, which takes place every 10 years in the US.
The second most common Indian surname was found to be Singh-- its overall ranking climbed to the 396th position from 1,306 in 1900. There are 72,642 Singhs in the country.
Besides Sikhs, a fair number of Singhs are Hindus with roots in states other than Punjab.
Khans ranked 665th (up from 1,728th in 1900), but Khans also come from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Shah was ranked at spot 831, Sharma at 2,247, Kumar took the 2,293rd spot and Desai 2,540th. Guptas, Reddys, Mehtas and Raos trailed behind.
In the list of top 25 Asian surnames, Patel stood at number three (Nguyen and Kim were number one and two respectively), Singh at eighth and Shah at 22nd.
The vastly improved rankings of Indian surnames only reflect the 106 percent growth in the Indian origin population, the highest among all Asian origin groups.
From 820,000 in 1990, it rose to 1.6 million in 2000. The Indian population is the third largest Asian American group in the US after the Chinese and the Filipinos.
It is not just Asians whose numbers are increasing in the US. A significant finding of the new study was that two Hispanic surnames - Garcia and Rodriguez - figured for the first time among the top 10 list -- at number 8 and number 9.