North American Hindu Marriage Survey
Marriage among Hindus in the United States, who are otherwise known as Hindu-Americans, is a subject that has received little study. This has two negative consequences: One consequence is that Hindu-Americans stand significantly outside of American policy-making where decisions are made about resources to be provided to families. Another consequence is that Hindu-Americans themselves do not receive the benefit of scientific research that could help them make better decisions about themselves and their community.
Firstly, Hindu-Americans for the most part are not recognized in American policy-making. The U.S. Census and most other governmental organizations in the United States do not collect data on people’s religious affiliations. Thus groups like Hindus, for whom religion is a major marker of identity, become all but invisible to American policy makers. “Almost all of the focus on how Western state policies affect contemporary non-Christian groups has been on Muslims with the consequence that groups like Hindus have been completely ignored,” observes sociologist Prema Kurien. This means that Hindu-Americans and their family needs have been virtually shut out of the American policy-making process. Scientific studies focused on the Hindu-American community could make Hindu-Americans more visible to American policy-makers.
Secondly, Hindu-Americans have their own concerns that scientific research could help address. For example, interracial, or exogamous, marriage is a specific aspect of marriage that is of wide concern to Hindu-Americans. Some studies suggest that exogamous marriage rates may be as high as 66% of all Hindu-American females (and 54% for males), but those studies tend to aggregate all persons of Asian origin into a single category, whether they are from the Far East or happen to be Indian Hindus or Muslims. Although such figures themselves are uncertain, they nevertheless fuel concern over what are very real issues at a personal level. When negative anecdotes are shared within a community, they can become community issues as well, and the actual facts may come to be distorted. Scientific studies could bring community issues into better focus and thereby help individuals and community leaders make better, informed decisions about them.
In order to aid the Hindu-American community’s inclusion in public-policy decision-making and to help the community better investigate issues of concern to the Hindu community itself, the Samprajña Institute aims to conduct a survey on the state of marriage among Hindu-Americans. The study will investigate the rates and characteristics of both exogamous marriages and endogamous marriages. Questions closely related to marriage involve child-rearing, family structure, and resiliency of the marriage itself (such as marriage’s dark twin, divorce) must also be considered in such a study. Depending on interest and available finances, the study may be expanded to include Hindus living in Canada, or Hindu-Canadians.
To this end, the Samprajña Institute invites proposals from experienced researchers for the design and implementation of the study.
All proposals must include the following:
- Name of researcher, his or her credentials (CVs and professional experience), and contact information.
- A descriptive outline of the study in all its phases from beginning to end.
- A time-line for the project, broken down into each phase and any sub-phases.
- A list of requirements at the start of each phase and a list of measurable deliverables that are to be remitted to the Samprajña Institute at the completion of each phase.
- A list of projected expenses, broken down by phase, including remuneration to be paid to the researcher.
- A list of professional and/or academic references for the researcher and their contact information (phone and email).
Also, the total duration of the survey in all its phases, from beginning to end, is not to exceed 180 days. Proposals will be adjudicated in terms of their clarity, economy, credentials, and experience.
Please remit all proposals in Rich Text Format (*.rtf file) to the following email address: secretary-at-samprajna.org with the subject line “North-American Hindu Marriage Survey” without quotes. All questions about the survey must be remitted to the same email address.
 Prema A. Kurien, “Multiculturalism and ‘American’ Religion: The Case of Hindu Indian Americans,” Vol. 85, No. 2, Dec. 2006, Social Forces 16 Jun. 2011 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/4494937>.
 Samuel Huntington, Who Are We? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004) 298.