Originally Posted by NPR
June 2, 2012
Here are three remarkable facts about motels in the U.S. that you probably don't already know:
- At least 1 out of 2 motels are owned by Indian-Americans.
- Out of those Indian-owned motels, 70 percent are owned by Gujaratis, people with roots in the western Indian state of Gujarat.
- Of those Gujaratis, three-fourths share the last name Patel. There's even a name for these overnight establishments: "Patel Motels."
This news is a little more than three decades old. The article has some fundamental errors of fact.
I remember reading a story in the 70's about an investigation into a sudden influx of Patels in motel business.
As for Gujaratis entering motels buisness in the 40's and 50's is also not borne by other facts.
There weren't enough Indians, let alone Gujratis in the U.S. to make any dent. Additionally, with interludes or varying lengths, Indians were barred from becoming citizens under various exclusion acts until the mid 40's. A large number of Gujratis settles in British Colonies in East Africa. As Indians, mostly Gujratis, were being forced out from a few newly independent British colonies in Africa, many of them sought British nationality as they had been British subjects when they moved to Africa as traders. Most were refused. As traders, they had accumulated wealth, which made them richer than the native populations. Many had lost contact with India as they had lived in Africa for generations. With little reason to go back to India, and no prospect of entering Britain, they came to the U.S. in the 1970's. Once a few got into motel business, the rest followed like sheep.