Punjabi diaspora

The Punjabi diaspora refers to the descendants of ethnic Punjabis who emigrated out of the Punjab region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent 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.



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 minority.


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

Hong Kong

Among Hong Kong Indian adolescents, Punjabi is the third most common language other than Cantonese. 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. Punjabis dominated Hong Kong's police force until the 1950s.

    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.


    Around 60 Punjabi Sikh families resides in Iran. Punjabi language is also taught at Kendriya Vidyalaya Tehran, an Indian co-educational school in Baharestan District, Tehran.


    There are 71,000 Punjabis. In Japan 98% of the Punjabis are Muslim and 1.5% of the Punjabis are Christian.


    Most Kenyan Asians are Gujaratis, but the second largest group are Punjabis. All three major religious groups (Sikh, muslim and Hindu) are represented in the Punjabi population.The artisan Ramgharia used to be the largest group amongst the sikh.


    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. Robin Cohen estimates the number of Malaysian Sikhs as 30, 000 (as of 1995). Recent figures state that there are 130,000 Sikhs in Malaysia.

    New Zealand

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

    Persian Gulf states

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


    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.


    Most Indians in Thailand are Punjabis.

    United Kingdom

    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. They form a majority of both the South Asian British Sikh and Hindu communities.

    Most "twice-migrants" were also Punjabi or Gujarati.

    United States

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