Immigrants in Indiana- Burma: Home

Where is Burma (Myanmar)?


Burmese in Indiana

"About 35,000 Burmese people, many of the refugees, call the Hoosier state home. Indianapolis is home to the largest Burmese community in the United States, with about 24,000 as of 2020. Fort Wayne is home to about 10,000 Burmese Hoosiers and smaller populations also reside in South Bend, Logansport and Bloomington."

From "How Indiana's Burmese community is leading a movement for democracy" by Natalia E. Contreras from Indianapolis Star.


Many indigenous languages are spoken in Myanmar, over one hundred. The official language is Burmese, spoken by two-thirds of the population. During the colonial period, English became the official language, but Burmese continued as the primary language in all other settings. After gaining independence, English ceased to be the official language. Look at this map to understand the complexity of languages spoken in Burma.

Land and Climate

Burma is an coastal country next to the Bay of Bengal. It has three main seasons; warm dry, wet, and cool dry months. In the coastal region a longer wet season is common. In the inland regions, a longer drier weather season occurs.   

Burma or Myanmar?

For generations, the country was called Burma, after the main Burman ethnic group. In 1989, after the military suppressed a pro-democracy uprising, military leaders changed the country's name to Myanmar.

In the Burmese language, “Myanmar” is the more formal version of “Burma.” The country’s name changed only in English.

The United States does not recognize the name Myanmar, in defiance of the country's military government. Still most other countries and the United Nations accept the name Myanmar. The term Burmese is often used to describe the countries food, language and people. This guide will use both Burma and Myanmar to describe the country.

Learn more about the two names of the country and why they matter.