Sinhalese in United States

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
The Road Provides - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Send Joshua Project a map of this people group.
People Name: Sinhalese
Country: United States
10/40 Window: No
Population: 11,000
World Population: 401,700
Primary Language: Sinhala
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 4.00 %
Evangelicals: 1.20 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Buddhist
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Not all Sri Lankans are Sinhalese but about three-quarters are. Many Sri Lankans came to America during the Sri Lankan civil war in the 1990s. Sinhala is the main language spoken amongst the Sinhalese. They live in New York City which has the largest number of them, then central New Jersey, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Sri Lankans eat curries, fish, rice, soup and vegetables. Coconut milk is a very important ingredient for their meals. They have holidays based on the full moon. With Buddhists, May is the most important full moon holy day as Gautama Buddha was born and passed away then.

Sri Lankan Americans are well educated and most have been to college. A lot of Sri Lankans who come to live in America do so because of better job opportunities. Many of them have their own businesses.

The second generation of Sri Lankans are used to the American culture. Sinhalese elders are trying to make sure the next generation is familiar with their culture through a number of Sinhala-based cultural organizations. Parents often send their children to religious courses in the U.S.A. They still favor cross cousin marriages. Children can refuse the marriage partner chosen by their parents even though marriages are arranged. There is a good chance these practices will change in the next generation. The Sri Lankans have nuclear families of husbands, wives and their children who are not married. Relatives often live nearby.

The Goyigama caste is prominent among the Sinhalese. They do not use caste limitations when mixing with Americans.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Sinhalese are Buddhists. Sri Lankan Buddhists tend to live near others of them who are Buddhists. There are some Christians among the Sinhalese in the United States.

What Are Their Needs?

The Buddhist Sinhalese need Christ lovers to take the gospel of grace to them. As it stands, few are willing to do this.

Prayer Points

Pray for God to thrust out workers to the Sinhalese in America.
Pray for a revival among Sinhalese Christians in the U.S. that will make them shine their lights drawing others out of darkness.
Pray for Sinhalese disciples to make more disciples.
Pray for entire Sinhalese families to be blessed through home Bible studies. Pray these will lead to good fruit.

Text Source:   Joshua Project