Urdu in United States

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Aryan tribes entered India about 1500 BC mixing with mongoloids, Greeks and Huns. Through the generations this caused the Indian features of the people to gradually become more Caucasian and their languages to become more diverse. In later centuries Muslim influence promoted the linguistic change out of which the Urdu language eventually developed. Hindi and Urdu are similar languages, but they are divided by religious affiliation; Hindi is spoken by the Hindu peoples while Urdu is spoken by Muslims. Urdu is heavily laden with Persian and Arabic words and is written in the Persian script. Today when one thinks of South Asian Muslim languages, Urdu is the first one that comes to mind. Urdu is seldom a heart language, but it is the trade language of Pakistan.
Urdu speakers come from all walks of life, but they usually originate in either Pakistan or northern India. The Urdu possess a sense of group identity based on cultural and historical factors: the Islamic religion, a Persian cultural tradition, the Urdu language, and the tradition of Muslim supremacy in northern India.
In recent years many Urdu-speaking Muslims have emigrated to Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, searching for economic opportunities. Skilled laborers and highly educated professionals among them have also emigrated to Western Europe, North America, and British Commonwealth countries all over the world.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The first Urdu people who came to the US came to work in agriculture and logging. The Luce-Celler Act of 1946 allowed them to obtain US citizenship. The INS Act of 1965 allowed Pakistanis with professional skills to work in the US, and their numbers increased dramatically. There was an influx of well-educated Pakistanis coming to the US during that time. More recently, there have been others who have entered the US as refugees, and they tend to take low paying jobs in places like New York City. There are a higher number of Urdu speakers in New York, Texas and California than the other US states.
The Urdu community is usually prosperous since so many are from a well-educated background. They are noted for their generosity and philanthropy. It is common for those with a medical background to practice medicine in the US. Often a Pakistani family will own a small business and employ extended family members to join them in the work. All Pakistanis try their best to become homeowners both for symbolic and economic reasons. Pakistani Americans have a good percentage of people who have served in the US military.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Islam is a central part of Urdu identity. Those who attend Sunni mosques have regular contact with Muslims from other ethnic communities. Most Urdu in the US are Sunni Muslim, but there are also some Shia and Ahmadiyyas among them. The latter are likely to be people who were looking for a safer place since they are persecuted by other Muslim communities in Pakistan.

What Are Their Needs?

Though they are fairly large in number and economically prosperous, they remain in the Islamic religious system, and few Christians in America will tell them about the Savior who alone has the power to break the power of sin.

Prayer Points

Pray for a massive movement to Christ among Urdu speakers this decade leading to spiritual and physical blessings in Christ.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers to the Urdu speakers in the USA.
Pray for persons of peace among the Urdu people who will accept Christ's ambassadors.
Pray for resources like the JESUS Film and Urdu language broadcasts to become widely available.

Scripture Prayers for the Urdu in United States.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-05-23
Global Prayer Digest: 2016-05-23
Global Prayer Digest: 2020-07-31
People Name General Urdu
People Name in Country Urdu
Pronunciation OOR-doo
Population this Country 531,000
Population all Countries 2,123,000
Total Countries 24
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 11
Alternate Names Hindi; Islami; Muhajirs; Undri
People ID 15727
ROP3 Code 110423
Country United States
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country United States
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Primary Language Urdu (531,000 speakers)
Language Code urd   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Urdu (531,000 speakers)
Language Code urd   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Urdu

Primary Language:  Urdu

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1747-1894)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1758-2000)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1843-2022)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio
Audio Recordings Urdu Online Audio Bible
Film / Video God's Love Story
Film / Video God's Story video
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Urdu
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena video
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children
Film / Video The Hope Video
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
Film / Video The Savior 6 - The Lord's Prayer
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source (Representative photo)
Muzaffar Somro - Pixabay  Creative Commons 
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more