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Where do Singaporeans in the US live?

SINGAPORE — If you were in the United States and needed to find a Singaporean, where would you start looking?

Where do Singaporeans in the US live?

A map showing the Singapore-born population in the United States using the Census Bureau American Community Survey 2005-2009 five-year data on Dec 16, 2013. Photo: Daryl Sng

SINGAPORE — If you were in the United States and needed to find a Singaporean, where would you start looking?

A newly-created visual map, tracking where people born in Singapore live in the States, sheds some light. Said Philadelphia-based Singaporean Daryl Sng, 35, the creator of the map: “Not surprisingly, they tend to be living in metropolitan areas, with the strongest concentration on the western and eastern seaboards.”

The career diplomat, who is currently on a sabbatical while he pursues his Masters degree, worked with data from the US Census Bureau and a geographic information system program, ArcGIS, to draw up a map showing where to find those who have given up their Singapore citizenship, as well as those born to American expatriates during their time in Singapore.

“The Census Bureau data only covers where people were born, but not their nationality. The map includes some Americans who happened to be born in Singapore and some Singaporeans who have become American citizens,” said the Harvard graduate.

“It excludes Singapore citizens who were not born in Singapore, but I think it’s a reasonable proxy for where Singaporeans live.”

He also noted that the data was taken from the American Community Survey 2005 to 2009 because it was the most recent source of information he could find, “and I doubt things have changed significantly since then”.

Out of the 26,754 people born in Singapore surveyed, about 10,000 live within the Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Washington DC corridor. About 5,000 live within 400km of Los Angeles, and less than 5,000 live within 400km of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The next highest concentrations are in Texas, followed by an enclave by the Great Lakes, near Chicago and Ann Arbor.

Having worked as a diplomat in the Singapore Embassy for three years, Mr Sng told TODAY that in the course of collating the data he found Singaporeans in unexpected places, such as Brownsville, the very southern tip of Texas.

“I’ve lived in different parts of the US over my life, and it was always interesting to hear my fellow Singaporeans’ stories. When I learned that there were over 26,000 people who told the Census Bureau that Singapore was their birthplace, I immediately graphed out a visual of where Singaporeans actually lived in the US,” he said.

This is valuable information to those at the Overseas Singaporean Unit, a portal that helps locals who are abroad stay connected with each other and stay updated with events back home, Mr Sng said. Such data could mean that organising events to reach out to kinsmen beyond borders might be less of a logistical nightmare.

“It’s very interesting to see how spread out across the US Singaporeans are — there are Singaporeans in almost every state, including places like Alaska,” said Mr Sng.

“Singaporeans in America are always talking about how much they miss Singaporean food. If someone wanted to open a supermarket that sells Singaporean food products, the map shows where there is a ready market!”

The original map can be found at: http://tdy.sg/1hYkvYp

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