According to a recent factsheet released by the Iranian Studies group at MIT (ISG) in Cambridge, MA, an independent academic group focusing on social, economic and political issues of Iran and Iranians, the Iranian-American community is among the most educated ethnic groups in the U.S. Based on the census ancestry data, Iranian-Americans have the highest percentage of people with graduate degrees among the 67 ancestry groups covered by the census. More than 26% of Iranian-Americans have Master's degrees or higher, many of them Ph.Ds or MDs.
According to the 2000 census, there are 338,000 individuals of primary and secondary Iranian ancestry living in the U.S. at the moment. Many community members argue that this number may not represent all of the community, given that the troubled relationship between the U.S. and Iran in the last 25 years has made many Iranian-Americans are uneasy at identifying themselves with their country of origin.
The factsheet released by the ISG also highlights the median income-levels of Iranian-Americans, which according to census data are around 20% higher than the national average. The report also emphasizes the role of Iranian-Americans in the U.S. economy, where they have founded or serve in leadership positions in many Fortune 500 companies such as EBay, Verizon, AT&T, Intel, Cisco, Motorola, Oracle, Nortel and Lucent. The value of these companies exceeds US$ 1000 Billion
According to a preliminary list compiled by the ISG research team, there are hundreds of Iranian-American academics teaching and doing research at top-ranked universities such as MIT, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of California System (Los Angles, Berkeley, Irvine, San Diego), Stanford, USC, Georgia Tech, University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan, University of Illinois, California Institute of Technology, Boston University, University of Maryland, George Washington University, and hundreds of other universities and colleges throughout the United States.
The ISG is also preparing a report on the issue of Iranian-American community participation in the 2004 Presdiential election, and how the community can increase its presence in the American political system. Many community concerns such issues of discriminations against parents and families of Iranian-Americans coming for a visit to the U.S., issues of student visas for Iranian nationals, and the effective ban on Iranian academic publications in U.S.-based professional and scholarly journals could be resolved through direct and open dialog with policmakers. In interviews with the ISG, many community members have argued that the troubled relationship between the governments of the U.S. and Iran should not result in economic and social restrictions that only affect the population of Iran and have little effect on the government of Iran.
A more comprehensive report on the Iranian-American community is being prepared by ISG, and is intended to be published in April 2004.
(See Iranian Studies Group Factsheet on Iranian-Americans: http://web.mit.edu/isg/Factsheet%20on%20Iranian-Americans.pdf)
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