Demographics of Asian Americans

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The demographics of Asian Americans describe a heterogeneous group of people in the United States who trace their ancestry to one or more Asian countries.[1][2][3] Because Asian Americans total about 5% of the entire US population, diversity within the group is often overlooked in media treatment.[4][5][6][7]

Asian county percentage map, 2010

Background[edit]

The first recorded Asian Americans in the continental United States were a group of Filipino men who established the small settlement of Saint Malo, Louisiana, after fleeing mistreatment aboard Spanish ships.[8] Since there were no women with them, the Manilamen, as they were known, married Cajun and Native American women.[9] In 1778, Chinese and European explorers first arrived in Hawaii.[10][11] Numerous Chinese and Japanese began immigrating to the US in the mid-19th century;[12] numerous Chinese immigrants worked as laborers on the First Transcontinental Railroad, many who immigrated due to overpopulation and poverty experienced in Canton Province.[13] In the mid-20th century, refugees from Southeast Asia fled wars in the homelands to come to the United States.[14] Most Asian Americans who immigrated to the United States arrived after 1965, due to immigration reform that allowed for immigration from a wider range of countries.[15]

Population[edit]

Asian population density
Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 34,933
1870 63,254 81.1%
1880 105,613 67.0%
1890 109,527 3.7%
1900 114,189 4.3%
1910 146,863 28.6%
1920 182,137 24.0%
1930 264,766 45.4%
1940 254,918 −3.7%
1950 321,033 25.9%
1960 980,337 205.4%
1970 1,538,721 57.0%
1980 3,500,439 127.5%
1990 6,908,638 97.4%
2000 11,896,828 72.2%
2010 17,320,856 45.6%
Est. 2012 18,855,104 8.9%
2000 & 2010 figures include Multiracial Asian American Americans
1910, 1920, 1930, 1960, 1970, and 1980 include Pacific Islands American population numbers

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Asian American population, including those of multiracial and Hispanic and Latino ancestry, had increased to 18,205,898 by 2011.[18]

During the 2010 United States Census, there were a total of 17,320,856 Asian Americans, including Multiracial Americans identifying as part Asian. This made Asian Americans 5.6 percent of the total American population.[19] The largest ethnic groups represented in the census were Chinese (3.79 million), Filipino (3.41 million), Indian (3.18 million), Vietnamese (1.73 million), Korean (1.7 million), and Japanese (1.3 million).[20][21] Other sizable ethnic groups include Pakistani (409,000), Cambodian (276,000), Hmong (260,000), Thai (237,000), Laotian (232,000), Taiwanese (230,000), Bangladeshi (147,000), and Burmese (100,000).[20] The total population of Asian Americans grew by 46 percent from 2000 to 2010 according to the Census Bureau, which constituted the largest increase of any major racial group during that period.[22] In 2010, there were an estimated 11,284,000 foreign born individuals who were born in Asia, of whom 57.7% had become naturalized citizens.[23] Additionally, 209,128 were Hispanic and Latino, of whom the largest population (101,654) claim Mexico as their nation of origin.[24]

The 2000 census recorded 11.9 million people (4.2 percent of the total population) who reported themselves as having either full or partial Asian heritage.[25] The largest ethnic subgroups were Chinese (2.7 million), Filipino (2.4 million), Indian (1.9 million), Vietnamese (1.2 million), Korean (1.2 million), and Japanese (1.1 million). Other sizable groups included Cambodians (206,000), Pakistanis (204,000), Lao (198,000), Hmong (186,000), and Thais (150,000).[25] About one-half of the Asian American population lived in the West, with California having the most total Asian Americans of any state, at 4.2 million.[25] As a proportion of the total population, Hawaii is the only state with an Asian American majority population, at 58 percent;[25] Honolulu County had the highest percentage of Asian Americans of any county in the nation, with 62 percent.[25] In 2000, 69 percent of all Asian Americans were foreign born, although Japanese Americans, 60 percent of whom were born in the United States, bucked this trend.[26]

The Twenty-first United States Census, conducted in 1990, recorded 6.9 million people who were called American Asians.[27] The largest ethnic groups were Chinese (23.8 percent), Filipino (20.4 percent), Japanese (12.3 percent), Indian (11.8 percent), Korea (11.6 percent), Vietnamese (8.9 percent), and Laotian (2.2 percent).[27] Smaller populations, of less than two percent, were documented of the following ethnicities: Cambodian, Thai, Hmong, Pakistani, Indonesian, Malay, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, and Burmese.[27] Two thirds of "American Asians" lived in the five states of California, New York, Hawaii, Texas, and Illinois; additionally their highest population concentrations were in California, New York, and Hawaii.[27] In 1990, 66 percent of American Asians were foreign born, with Vietnamese, Loatians, and Cambodians having this highest foreign born populations.[27]

Distribution[edit]

Trends[edit]

Asian Americans, on average, have higher incomes and education levels than White Americans. However, they also have higher poverty rates and lower home ownership rates.[36] In addition, homeownership among Asian Americans has increased by twice as much as white Americans in recent years (see Homeownership in the United States). Since the majority of the Asian American population is urbanized it usually offers more access to an educational environment as well as academic supplies. With that being said, Asian Americans will tend to find better access to higher paying jobs because of their better access to resources. Also, rural settings require farm hands which will prevent children and teenagers from completing highschool and graduating with a diploma. Their daily tasks may include packaging, cultivating, harvesting, and watering. For rural families, helping out with the family business may be a more immediate concern that education.[6]

Education[edit]

Asian Americans have the highest educational attainment of any racial group in the country; about 49.8% of them have at least a bachelor's degree.[37] Since the 1990s, Asian American students often have the highest math averages in standardized tests such as the SAT[38][39] and GRE.[40] Their verbal scores generally lag, but their combined scores are usually higher than those of white Americans.[38] The proportion of Asian Americans at many selective educational institutions far exceeds the national population rate. Asians constitute around 10–20 percent of those attending Ivy League[41][42] and other elite universities. Asian Americans are the largest racial group on seven of the nine University of California campuses,[43] are the largest racial group of undergraduates in the system,[44] and make up more than a quarter of graduate and professional students.[45] Asian Americans are more likely to attend college,[46] are more likely to apply to competitive colleges,[47] and have significantly higher college completion level than other races.[37] According to a poll targeting Asian Americans in 14 states and the District of Columbia conducted by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund in 2013, 40 percent of Asian Americans have a college degree, with almost a quarter of them having achieved an education attainment greater than a bachelor's degree.[48]

However, there are concerns that the goal of diversity in American higher education has had a negative effect on Asians, with charges of quotas and discrimination starting in the 1980s.[49][50][51][52] Asian American test scores are also bimodal—Asians are overrepresented both at high scores and low scores.[53][54]

Income[edit]

Further information: Income in the United States

Population growth[edit]

Asian American population growth is fueled largely by immigration. Natural population growth accounts for a small proportion of the 43 percent increase in total Asian American population between 2000 and 2010.[31]

Language[edit]

In 2010, there were 2.8 million people (5 and older) who spoke a Chinese language at home;[67] after Spanish language it is the most common non-English language in the United States.[67] Other sizeable Asian languages are Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean, with all three having more than 1 million speakers in the United States.[67] In 2012, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington were publishing election material in Asian languages in accordance with the Voting Rights Act;[68] these languages include Tagalog, Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, Hindi and Bengali.[68] Election materials were also available in Gujarati, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, and Thai.[69] According to a poll conducted by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund in 2013, it found that 48 percent of Asian Americans considered media in their native language as their primary news source.[70]

According to the 2000 Census, the more prominent languages of the Asian American community include the Chinese languages (Cantonese, Taishanese, and Hokkien), Tagalog, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Hindi, Urdu, and Gujarati.[71] In 2008, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese languages are all used in elections in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Washington state.[72]

Religion[edit]

Asian Americans' religious preferences are wide ranging, and tends to be more diverse than among other races in the United States.[73] The growth of Asian American immigration since 1965 has contributed to this diversity.[74] Until recently, a dearth of scholarship regarding Asian American religious beliefs led to a stereotype that Asian Americans are not religious or spiritual.[75] Although 59 percent of Asian Americans believe strongly in the existence of one or more gods exist, 30 percent identify as "secular" or "somewhat secular." Only 39 percent of Asian American households belong to a local church or temple, due to atheism or adherence to Eastern religions without congregational traditions.[76]

Although no one religious affiliation claims a majority of Asian Americans, about 45 percent of them adhere to some form of Christianity.[77][78] A Trinity College survey, conducted in 2008, found that 38 percent of Christian Asian Americans are Catholic;[79] Filipino Americans are majority Catholic, and a significant minority of Vietnamese Americans are as well.[74] The Trinity survey also found that of all demographic populations, Asian Americans had the highest number of respondents who did not claim a religion or refused to divulge their religious affiliation.[79] Various surveys have put this number between 23 to 27 percent of Asian Americans.[78][79] Additionally, the Trinity College survey found that 8% of Asian Americans are Muslim;[79] many of these Muslim Asian Americans come from, or trace their ancestry to, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Pakistan.[80][81]

A Gallup poll conducted in 2010 found that Asian Americans were the group least likely to say that religion was important in their daily lives, although a 54 percent majority of respondents still said that religion was important in their daily lives.[82] In 2012, a survey was conducted by the Pew Research Center of the Faiths of Asian Americans, it found that Christianity had the largest plurality (42%) of Asian American respondents, followed by those who were unaffiliated (26%).[83] The three next largest faiths, of those who responded, were Buddhist (14%), Hindu (10%), and Muslim (4%).[83]

Sexuality[edit]

According to a Gallup survey conducted from June to September 2012, 4.3 percent of Asian Americans self identify as LGBT. This compares with 4.6 percent of African-Americans, 4 percent of Hispanic-Americans, 3.2 percent of Caucasian-Americans, and the overall 3.4 percent of American adults that self identify as LGBT in the total population.[84]

US States by Asian American population[edit]

State/Territory Asian American
Population
(2010)[31][85]
Percentage
Asian American
(2010)[31]
Chinese[86] Filipino[87] Indian[88] Japanese[89] Korean[90] Vietnamese[91] Other Asian
 Alabama 67,036 1.4 11,154 8,224 14,951 4,336 10,624 8,488 9,259
 Alaska 50,402 7.1 3,726 25,424 1,911 3,926 6,542 1,446 7,427
 Arizona 230,907 3.6 42,331 53,067 40,510 19,611 21,125 27,872 26,391
 Arkansas 44,943 1.5 6,301 6,396 7,973 2,384 3,247 6,302 12,340
 California 5,556,592 14.9 1,451,537 1,474,707 590,445 428,014 505,225 647,589 459,075
 Colorado 185,589 3.7 33,344 26,242 24,135 22,714 28,177 23,933 27,044
 Connecticut 157,088 4.4 36,483 16,402 50,806 6,203 11,760 10,804 24,630
 Delaware 33,701 3.8 7,033 4,637 12,344 1,196 3,099 1,688 3,704
 District of Columbia 26,857 4.5 6,583 3,670 6,417 2,010 2,990 1,856 3,331
 Florida 573,083 3.0 94,244 122,691 151,438 25,747 35,629 65,772 77,562
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia 365,497 3.8 54,298 28,528 105,444 14,247 60,836 49,264 52,880
 Hawaii 780,968 57.4 199,751 342,095 4,737 312,292 48,699 13,266 139,872
 Idaho 29,698 1.9 5,473 6,211 2,786 5,698 2,806 2,154 4,570
 Illinois 668,694 5.2 119,308 139,090 203,669 28,623 70,263 29,101 78,640
 Indiana 126,750 2.0 26,038 16,988 30,947 8,437 13,685 8,175 22,480
 Iowa 64,512 2.1 11,494 6,026 12,525 2,854 7,375 9,543 14,695
 Kansas 83,930 2.9 13,448 9,399 15,644 4,178 7,756 16,074 17,431
 Kentucky 62,029 1.4 10,512 8,402 14,253 6,197 7,264 5,813 9,588
 Louisiana 84,335 1.9 11,953 10,243 13,147 3,117 4,752 30,202 10,921
 Maine 18,333 1.4 4,390 2,918 2,397 1,181 1,741 2,170 3,536
 Maryland 370,044 6.4 79,660 56,909 88,709 12,826 55,051 26,605 50,284
 Massachusetts 394,211 6.0 136,866 18,673 85,441 15,358 28,904 47,636 61,343
 Michigan 289,607 2.9 51,525 32,324 84,750 17,412 30,292 19,456 53,848
 Minnesota[92] 247,132 4.7 30,047 15,660 38,097 7,995 20,995 27,086 107,252
 Mississippi 32,560 1.1 5,333 5,638 6,458 807 2,301 7,721 4,302
 Missouri 123,571 2.1 26,001 17,706 26,263 7,084 12,689 16,530 17,298
 Montana 10,482 1.1 1,919 2,829 930 1,854 1,369 481 1,100
 Nebraska 40,561 2.2 5,730 4,900 6,708 3,106 3,815 8,677 7,625
 Nevada 242,916 9.0 39,448 123,891 14,290 21,364 18,518 12,366 13,039
 New Hampshire 34,522 2.6 7,652 3,369 9,075 1,842 3,021 2,907 6,686
 New Jersey 795,163 9.0 149,356 126,793 311,310 19,710 100,334 23,535 64,125
 New Mexico 40,456 2.0 7,668 8,535 5,727 4,889 3,760 5,403 4,474
 New York 1,579,494 8.2 615,932 126,129 368,767 51,781 153,609 34,510 228,763
 North Carolina 252,585 2.6 40,820 29,314 63,852 12,878 25,420 30,665 49,636
 North Dakota 9,193 1.4 1,762 1,704 1,740 628 933 791 1,635
 Ohio 238,292 2.1 50,870 27,661 71,211 16,995 21,207 15,639 34,706
 Oklahoma 84,170 2.2 11,658 10,850 14,078 5,580 9,072 18,098 14,834
 Oregon 186,281 4.9 41,374 29,101 20,200 24,535 20,395 29,485 21,191
 Pennsylvania 402,587 3.2 96,606 33,021 113,389 12,699 47,429 44,605 54,838
 Rhode Island 36,763 3.5 8,228 4,117 5,645 1,455 2,658 1,615 13,045
 South Carolina 75,674 1.6 11,706 15,228 17,961 4,745 7,162 7,840 11,032
 South Dakota 10,216 1.3 1,570 1,864 1,433 696 1,179 1,002 2,472
 Tennessee 113,398 1.8 18,313 14,409 26,619 6,955 13,245 11,351 22,506
 Texas 1,110,666 4.4 182,477 137,713 269,327 37,715 85,332 227,968 170,134
 Utah 77,748 2.8 16,358 10,657 7,598 12,782 7,888 9,338 13,127
 Vermont 10,463 1.7 2,833 1,035 1,723 842 1,271 1,206 1,553
 Virginia 522,199 6.5 72,585 90,493 114,471 20,138 82,006 59,984 82,522
 Washington 604,251 9.0 120,814 137,083 68,978 67,597 80,049 75,843 53,887
 West Virginia 16,465 0.9 3,208 3,059 3,969 1,159 1,571 1,104 2,395
 Wisconsin 151,513 2.7 21,054 13,158 25,998 5,967 10,949 6,191 68,196
 Wyoming 6,729 1.2 1,340 1,657 739 982 803 283 925
 Puerto Rico 10,464 0.3 2,751 445 5,475 313 205 232 1,043
 United States of America 17,320,856 5.6 4,010,114 3,416,840 3,183,063 1,304,286 1,706,822 1,737,433 1,962,298

The above list displays the population of Asian Americans ("Alone, or in combination") in US states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, according to the 2010 United States Census; Data for American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands have not yet been released.
Chinese Americans figures include Taiwanese Americans

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

  • Asian-Nation Asian American Socioeconomic Statistics and Comparisons