Punjabi diaspora

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Pakistan Punjabi Diaspora India
پنجابی / ਪੰਜਾਬੀ
Total population
(10 million[1])
Allah-green.svg IslamOm.svg HinduismKhanda.svg SikhismChristian cross.svg ChristianityJainismnon-religious
Related ethnic groups
Indian Diaspora, Pakistani diaspora, South Asian Diaspora

The Punjabi diaspora refers to the descendants of ethnic Punjabis who emigrated out of the Punjab region to the rest of the world. Punjabis are one of the largest ethnic groups in both the Pakistani and Indian diasporas. The Punjabi diaspora numbers around 10 million, mainly concentrated in Britain, North America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.[1]


Punjabis migrated to Australia from other parts of the Punjabi diaspora, as well from the state of Punjab itself. The Majority were Sikh & Hindu Punjabis instead of Muslims being the majority.[2]


85% of Indo-Canadians in British Columbia are Punjabi Sikhs,[3] including former premier of British Columbia, Ujjal Dosanjh.

Gulf states

In the Gulf states, the largest group among Pakistani expatriates are the Punjabis.[4]

Hong Kong

Among Hong Kong Indian adolescents, Punjabi is the most common language other than Cantonese.[5] The Punjabis were influential in the military, and in line with the British military thinking of the time (namely, the late 19th century and early 20th century) Punjabi Sikhs,Punjabi Hindus and Punjabi Muslims formed two separate regiments.The regiments were as follows:

  • Punjab regiment-25,000 soldiers(50% Muslim,40% Hindu and 10% Sikh)
  • Sikh Regiment-10,000 soldiers(80% Sikh,20% Hindu)

In 1939, Hong Kong's police force included 272 Europeans, 774 Indians (mainly Punjabis) and 1140 Chinese.[6] Punjabis dominated Hong Kong's police force until the 1950s.[7]

From the 2006 Government by-census results, it shows a population of roughly 20,444 Indians and roughly 11,111 Pakistanis residing at the former British territory. .[8]


Most Kenyan Asians are Gujaratis, but the second largest group are Punjabis.[9]


Although most Malaysian Indians are Tamils, there were also many Punjabis that immigrated to Malaysia. According to Amarjit Kaur as of 1993 there were 60, 000 Punjabis in Malaysia.[10] Robin Cohen estimates the number of Malaysian Sikhs as 30, 000 (as of 1995).[6] Recent figures state that there are 130,000 Sikhs in Malaysia.[11]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, Punjabis are one of the largest group of Indian New Zealanders.[12]


The third largest group among Indo-Singaporeans in 1980 were Punjabis (after Tamils - who form a majority of Indo-Singaporeans - and Malayalis), at 7.8% of the Indo-Singaporean population.[13]


Most Indians in Thailand are Punjabis.[14]

United Kingdom

British sign from Southall in English and Punjabi

In the United Kingdom, around two-thirds of direct migrants (excluding South Asians that immigrated from the Caribbean, Fiji and other regions) from South Asia were Punjabi. The remaining third is mostly Gujarati and Bengali.[15] They form a majority of both the South Asian British Sikh and Hindu communities.

Most "twice-migrants" were also Punjabi or Gujarati.[16]

Population of Sikhs by UK Censuses

Year Population
1951 10,000
1961 26,000
1971 120,000
1981 216,020
1991 269,000
2001 336,000


United States

Punjabis in the US by State

The earliest South Asian immigrants to the United States were Punjabis, who mostly immigrated to the West Coast, particularly California.[18] Half of Pakistani Americans are Punjabis.[19] 85% of the early Indian immigrants to the US were Sikhs, although they were branded by White Americans as "Hindoos".[20] 90% of Indians who settled in the Central Valley of California were Punjabi Sikhs.[21]


  1. 1.0 1.1 http://apnaorg.com/articles/ishtiaq8/ - Punjabis Without Punjabi
  2. Tony Ballantyne. Between Colonialism and Diaspora: Sikh Cultural Formations in an Imperial World.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Mahendra Gaur. Foreign policy annual. p. 317.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Ayesha Jalal (1995). Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: A Comparative and Historical Perspective. Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Martha Carswell Pennington (1998). Language in Hong Kong at Century's End. Hong Kong University Press. p. 219.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Robin Cohen (1995). The Cambridge Survey of World Migration. Cambridge University Press. p. 70.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Carol R. Ember, Melvin Ember, Ian A. Skoggard. Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures Around the World. Volume I: Overviews and Topics; Volume II: Diaspora Communities. Springer year=2004. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Hong Kong SAR Government. Census and Statistics Department 2006 Population By-census: Section A, Table A105. Hong Kong SAR Government year=2007. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Wilfred Whiteley. Language in Kenya.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Amarjit Kaur (1993). Historical Dictionary of Malaysia. Scarecrow Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. http://apnaorg.com/articles/ishtiaq8/
  12. "Indians - Indian communities - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Language Change Via Language Planning: Some Theoretical and Empirical Aspects with a Focus on Singapore. p. 77.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Kernial Singh Sandhu, A. Mani. Indian Communities in Southeast Asia.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Roger Ballard, Marcus Banks (1994). Desh Pardesh. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. pp. 19–20. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Peter J. Claus, Sarah Diamond, Margaret Ann Mills. South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. p. 158. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=GDMTeC_WB0oC&pg=PA23&dq=british+sikhs+1951
  18. Parmatma Saran, Edwin Eames. The New Ethnics: Asian Indians in the United States. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Le-Pa/Pakistani-Americans.html - Under "Language"
  20. David M. Reimers (2005). Other Immigrants: The Global Origins of the American People. NYU Press. p. 61.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Margaret A. Gibson. Accommodation Without Assimilation.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>