Demographics of Filipino Americans

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Map depicting Filipinos in the United States, according to the Census 2000.

The demographics of Filipino Americans describe a heterogeneous group of people in the United States who can trace their ancestry to the Philippines. As of the 2010 Census there are 3.4 million Filipino Americans, including Multiracial Americans who are part Filipino, with the United States Department of State in 2011 estimating the population at 4 million. Filipino Americans are the second largest population of Asian Americans, and the largest population of Overseas Filipinos. First recorded presence of Filipinos in what is now the United States date to October 1587, with the first permanent settlement of Filipinos in what is now the United States being established in Louisiana in 1763. Since then significant populations of Filipino Americans can be found in California, Hawaii, the New York metropolitan area, Texas, and Illinois. There are smaller populations of Filipino Americans elsewhere.


Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1910 160 —    
1920 5,603 +3401.9%
1930 45,208 +706.9%
1940 45,563 +0.8%
1950 61,636 +35.3%
1960 176,310 +186.1%
1970 343,060 +94.6%
1980 774,652 +125.8%
1990 1,406,770 +81.6%
2000 2,364,815 +68.1%
2010 3,416,840 +44.5%
2000 & 2010 figures include Multiracial Filipino Americans

The Filipino American community is the second largest Asian American group in the United States with a population of over 3.4 million as of the 2010 US Census;[3][4][5] making up 19.7 percent of Asian Americans;[6] only Chinese Americans have a larger population among Asian Americans.[7] Not including Multiracial Filipino Americans, the population of those responding as Filipino alone in the 2010 Census were 2,555,923; an increase of 38% in population from the 2000 Census.[8] Filipino Americans are also the largest subgroup of Overseas Filipinos.[7] 69 Percent of Filipino Americans are foreign born, and 77 percent are United States Citizens.[6] Life expectancy for Filipino Americans are higher than the general population of the United States; however, survival rates of Filipino Americans diagnosed with cancer are lower than European Americans.[9]

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the 2007 American Community Survey, identified approximately 3.1 million persons as "Filipino alone or in any combination." The census also found that about 80% of the Filipino-American community are United States citizens.[10] Also in 2011, the U.S. State Department estimated the size of the Filipino American community at 4 million[11] or 1.5% of the United States population. There are no official records of Filipinos who hold dual citizenship; however, during the 2000 Census data indicated that Filipino Americans had the lowest percentage of non-citizens amongst Asian Americans, at twenty six (26) percent.[12] Additionally, although historically there had been a larger number of Filipino American men than women, women represented 54% of the Filipino American adult population in the 2000 Census.[13]

Filipino Americans are the largest group of Overseas Filipinos, and the majority were born overseas; at the same time more than seventy three (73) percent are United States Citizens.[12] One in five are Multiracial Americans. Multiple languages are spoken by Filipino Americans, and the majority are Roman Catholic. A U.S. Census Bureau survey done in 2004 found that Filipino Americans had the second highest median family income amongst Asian Americans, and also had a high level of educational achievement.[15]

Interracial marriage among Filipinos is not uncommon,[16] as they have the largest number of interracial marriages among Asian immigrant groups in California,[17] only Japanese Americans have a higher rate nationally.[18] It is also noted that 21.8% of Filipino Americans are multiracial, second among Asian Americans.[19] Depending on their parentage, multiracial Filipino Americans may refer to themselves as Mestizo, Tsinoy, Blackapino, and Mexipino.[20]



Early immigration[edit]

The earliest recorded presence of Filipinos in what is today the United States is when in October 1587 mariners under Spanish command landed in Morro Bay, California.[21][22] The earliest permanent Filipino American residents arrived in the Americans in 1763,[22] later creating settlements such as Saint-Malo, Manila Village in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, and four others in Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes.[22] These early settlements were composed of formerly pressed sailors escaping from duty aboard Spanish galleons and were "discovered" by a Harper's Weekly journalist in 1883.[22] The last of these, Manila Village, survived until 1965 when it was destroyed by Hurricane Betsy.[23][24] An additional 2,000 were documented in New Orleans with their roots dating back to about a hundred years, with the first being Augustin Feliciano of Bicol;[25] Others later came from Manila, Cavite, Ilocos, Camarines, Zamboanga, Zambales, Leyte, Samar, Antique, Bulacan, Bohol, Cagayan, and Surigao.[26]

American period[edit]

Significant immigration to the United States began in the 1900s,[27] after the Spanish–American War when the Philippines became an overseas territory of the United States, and the population became United States nationals.[28][29][30] Unlike other Asians, who were unable to immigrate to the United States due to immigrations laws of the time, Filipinos as U.S. nationals were exempt.[31][32] Filipinos, many agricultural laborers, settled primarily in the then Territory of Hawaii and California.[33][34][35]

A smaller group of immigrants were sent on a scholarship program established by the Philippine Commission,[36] and were collectively known as "pensionados";[37] the first batch of these pensionados were first sent in 1903 and the scholarship program continued until World War II.[38] These students were chosen from wealthy and elite Filipino families initially, but were later from a more diverse background; additionally other Filipino students came to the United States for education outside of the program, many of who did not return to the Philippines.[39]

During this wave of migration Filipino men outnumbered women by about 15 to 1;[40] therefore, nuclear families were rare and an indication of privilege.[41] This migration, known as the manong generation,[42] was reduced to 50 persons a year following the Tydings–McDuffie Act which classified Filipinos as aliens, but was offset by the United States Navy's recruitment of Filipinos, who were exempt from the aforementioned quota.[3]

Post independence[edit]

The War Brides Act of 1945, and subsequent Alien Fiancées and Fiancés Act of 1946,[43][44] allowed veterans,[45] to return to the Philippines to bring back fiancées, wives, and children.[46] In the years following the war, some sixteen thousand Filipinas entered the United States as war brides.[47] That is not to say only women and children were beneficiaries of the acts for it was recorded that a lone Filipino groom immigrated during this period.[48] These new immigrants enabled the formation of a second generation of Filipino Americans that added to the Filipino American communities,[44] providing nuclear families.[49] Immigration levels would also be impacted by the independence of the Philippines from the United States,[50] which would occur on July 4, 1946. The quota of non-naval immigration increased slightly to 100 due to the passage of the Luce–Celler Act of 1946.[50] Thus Filipino American communities developed around United States Navy bases, whose impact can still be seen today.[49][51] Filipino American communities were also settled near Army and Air Force bases.[49] In 1946 the Filipino Naturalization Act allowed for naturalization,[52] and citizenship for Filipinos who had arrived before March, 1943.[53]

Post 1965[edit]

Following the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the Philippines became the largest source of Asian immigration, comprising one fourth of the total Asian immigrants.[3][54] These immigrants included many highly educated,[42] and higher skilled immigrants that continued into the 1990s.[55] A significant portion of these immigrants were in the medical field, due to medical personnel shortages in the United State such as in nursing, making the Philippines become the largest source of healthcare professionals to the United States.[56] Another result of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was that family reunification based immigration added to the total amount of Filipino immigrants resulting in two distinct economic groups within the Filipino American community.[56][57]

Like other immigrant groups, Filipino immigrants clustered together both out of a sense of community and in response to prejudice against them. This created the first Little Manilas in urban areas.[58][59] As time passed, immigration policies changed, and prejudice diminished, leading to a decline in the presence of Little Manilas.[60] Following this Filipino immigrants trended to settle in major metropitan areas,[61] and in the West.[62] Filipino Americans had a tendency to settle in a more dispersed fashion, and to intermarry more than other Asian Americans.[63]

Population concentrations[edit]

The following is a list of the states with significant Filipino American populations, at over 50,000 people of Filipino descent.[64]

States Filipino
 California 1,474,707
 Hawaii 342,095
 Illinois 139,090
 Texas 137,713
 Washington 137,083
 New Jersey 126,793
 New York 126,129
 Nevada 123,891
 Florida 122,691
 Virginia 90,493
United States United States 3,416,840

Filipino Americans are the largest group of Asian Americans in 10 of the 13 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, Wyoming; Filipino Americans are also the largest group of Asian Americans in South Dakota.[2]


In 2008, one out of every four Filipino Americans make their home in Southern California, numbering over 1 million.[65] The 2010 Census, confirmed that Filipino Americans had grown to become the largest Asian American population in the state, totaling 1,474,707 persons;[66] 43% of all Filipino Americans live in California. Of these persons 1,195,580 were not Multiracial Filipino Americans.[67] Twenty percent of registered nurses, in 2013, in California are Filipino.[68]

Greater Los Angeles is the metropolitan area home to the most Filipino Americans, with the population numbering around 606,657;[69] Los Angeles County alone accounts for over 374,285 Filipinos,[69] the most of any single county in the United States. The City of Los Angeles designated a section of Westlake as Historic Filipinotown. Orange County also has a sizable and growing Filipino population.[70][71][72]

Pistahan Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens.

The 2000 Census showed that the greater San Francisco Bay Area was home to approximately 320,000 residents of Filipino descent,[73] with the largest concentration living in Santa Clara County.[74] By the time of the 2010 Census the greater San Francisco Bay Area was home to 463,458 Filipino Americans and Multiracial Filipino Americans; Santa Clara county continued to have the largest concentration in the area.[69] Daly City, in the San Francisco Bay Area, has the highest concentration of Filipino Americans of any municipality in the United States; Filipino Americans comprise 35% of the city's population.[75]

San Diego County has the second largest Filipino American population of any county in the nation, with over 145,000 Filipinos, alone or in combination, in 2000;[76] by the 2010 Census the population had grown to 182,248.[69] In addition, San Diego is the only metropolitan area in the U.S. where Filipinos constitute the largest Asian American nationality.[76] It has historically been a popular destination for Filipino immigrants, and has contributed to the growth of its population.[77] A portion of California State Route 54 in San Diego is officially named the "Filipino-American Highway", in honor of the Filipino American Community.[78]


Main article: Filipinos in Hawaii

In Census 2000, the state of Hawaii had a Filipino population of over 275,000,[79][80] with over 191,000 living on the island of Oahu.[81] Furthermore, Filipinos make up the third largest ethnicity amongst Asian Pacific Americans,[82] while making up the majorities of the populations of Kauai and Maui counties.[83] In June 2002, representatives from the Arroyo Administration and local leaders presided over the grand opening and dedication of the Filipino Community Center in Waipahu, Hawaiʻi.[84][85] In the 2010 census Filipino Americans became the largest Asian ethnicity in Hawaii, partially due to the falling population of Japanese Americans in the state.[86]

New York City metropolitan area[edit]

In 2008, the New York metropolitan area was home to 215,000 Filipinos.[87] By the 2010 Census within the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, New York-NJ-PA MSA there were 217,349 Filipino Americans and Filipino Multiracial Americans,[69] with an additional 15,631 in the greater New York-Newark-Bridgeport, New York-NJ-CT-PA CSA.[69] It annually hosts the Philippine Independence Day Parade, which is traditionally held on the first Sunday of June at Madison Avenue.

Illinois and the Chicago metropolitan area[edit]

Illinois, specifically the Chicago metropolitan area, had 95,928 Filipinos as of 2000 and amongst immigrant groups had the highest proportion of foreign born (61%),[88] this was out of a total of 100,338 Filipinos that lived in the state.[13] A large concentration residing in the North and Northwest sides,[89] often near hospitals.[90] By the 2010 Census there were 130,781 Filipino Americans and Filipino Multiracial Americans within the Chicago metro area.[91]

Filipino migration to the Chicago area began in 1906 with the immigration of pensionados,[92] and was predominately men with a significant number of them marrying non-Filipinos, mainly Eastern or Southern European women.[93] At one point 300 of these early Chicago Filipinos worked for the Pullman Company, and overall trended to be more educated than most men of their same age in Chicago.[94] During the 1930s they were predominately in the Near South Side until the 1965 immigration reforms.[90] By the 1970s, Filipinas outnumbered Filipinos, with 9,497 total Filipinos in the Chicago Area.[89] Although not as concentrated as other Asian American groups, they are the fourth-largest ethnicity currently immigrating to the metro area.[90]


The first Filipino known by name in Texas was Francisco Flores, who came to Texas by way of Cuba who began to reside in Port Isabel and would later call Rockport home.[95] In 1950, about 4,000 Filipino Americans were in Texas,[96] with their number increasing to 75,226 by 2000.[13] According to the Census 2010 there are 137,713 Filipino Americans and Filipino Multiracial Americans in Texas.[97]

Following the annexation of the Philippines, Filipinos began to migrate to Texas due primarily as employees of American officers who served in the Philippines, with many settling around San Antonio; others would resettle in Texas after initially residing elsewhere in the United States.[95] With the disbandment of the Philippine Scouts, many who remained in the military came to call Fort Sam Houston home, along with Filipina War brides.[98] After World War II, many Filipino professionals began to immigrate to Texas, with 2,000 Filipino nurses calling Houston home.[95] As more Filipino Americans came to Texas, the center of their population shifted to Houston, which today has one of the largest Filipino populations in the South.[96] With Texas being part of the Bible Belt it is often a popular destination for emigrating Filipino Protestants.[96]


Florida is home to 122,691 Filipino Americans, according to the 2010 Census.[99] The largest community is in Jacksonville. The 2000 Census reported there were around 15,000 Filipino Americans living in the Jacksonville metropolitan area, though community leaders estimated the true number was closer to 25,000.[100] Indeed, the 2010 Census found that community numbered at 25,033, about 20% of the state's Filipino Americans.[99] Many of Jacksonville's Filipinos served in, or otherwise had ties to, the United States Navy, which has two bases in Jacksonville.[100][101] Two of Florida's other metropolitan areas also have substantial Filipino-American communities: the Miami metropolitan area has 21,535, and the Tampa Bay Area has 18,724.[99]


Other states with significant populations, of over seventy-five thousand persons during the 2010 Census were Nevada and Washington.[102] Nevada's Filipino population is growing quickly, and saw a 142% increase from 2000 to 2010; they now make up 3.6% of the state's total population.[103][104]

The Southern United States is home to about 11% of the country's Filipinos.[105] In addition to communities in Texas and Florida, there are 90,493 in Virginia, 44,576 of which live in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. Filipino Americans make up one quarter of all foreign born residents of the area.[101] Virginia's Filipino population grew from 59,318 in 2000.[13]

The first Filipino immigrated to Annapolis after the Spanish–American War when Filipinos served at the United States Naval Academy.[106] These Filipino immigrants dealt with institutional racism,[107] and later established organizations to support their community, including the Filipino-American Friendly Association.[108] According to the 2010 Census there were 56,909 Filipino Americans who live in Maryland.[109]

List of U.S. metropolitan areas with large Filipino American populations in 2010[edit]

Rank City Filipino American Population Size
Alone or in Combination (2010 Census)[99]
Total population[110] Percentage Filipino American
1 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA Metro Area 463,626 12,828,837 3.61
2 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA Metro Area 287,879 4,335,391 6.64
3 Honolulu, HI Metro Area 234,894 953,207 24.64
4 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area 217,349 18,897,109 1.15
5 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA Metro Area 182,248 3,095,313 5.88
6 Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI Metro Area 130,781 9,461,105 1.38
7 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area 117,928 4,224,851 2.79
8 Las Vegas-Paradise, NV Metro Area 108,141 1,951,269 5.54
9 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metro Area 105,403 1,836,911 5.73
10 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area 97,867 3,439,809 2.84
11 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area 75,444 5,582,170 1.35
12 Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA Metro Area 73,866 2,149,127 3.43
13 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA Metro Area 52,641 413,344 12.73
14 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX Metro Area 47,926 5,946,800 0.80
15 Stockton, CA Metro Area 46,447 685,306 6.77
16 Kahului-Wailuku, HI Micro Area 44,892 154,834 28.99
17 Hilo, HI Micro Area 40,878 185,079 22.08
18 Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ Metro Area 39,913 4,192,887 0.95
19 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metro Area 39,871 1,671,683 2.38
20 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area 33,206 6,371,773 0.52
21 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro Area 31,200 5,965,343 0.52
22 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metro Area 25,103 823,318 3.04
23 Jacksonville, FL Metro Area 25,033 1,345,596 1.86
24 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metro Area 23,864 2,226,009 1.07
25 Baltimore-Towson, MD Metro Area 22,418 2,710,489 0.82
26 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL Metro Area 21,535 5,564,635 0.38
27 Kapaa, HI Micro Area 21,423 67,091 31.93
28 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI Metro Area 20,825 4,296,250 0.48
29 Bakersfield-Delano, CA Metro Area 20,296 839,631 2.41
30 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area 18,724 2,783,243 0.67


According to a Pew Research Center survey published in July 2012, the majority of Filipino American respondents are Roman Catholic (65%), followed by Protestant (21%), unaffiliated (8%), and Buddhist (1%).[111] There are also smaller populations of Filipino American Muslims (particularly those who originate from the Southern Philippines).[112]



Much of the Filipino-American community is strongly middle class.[113][114][115] The representation of Filipino Americans is high in service-oriented professions such as healthcare. A profile of New York City's Filipino American population, based on an analysis of 2000 and 1990 U.S. census data reported that Filipino New Yorkers surpassed city residents as a whole in income.[116]

Median Household Income
The American Community — Asians: 2004[15]fig.13
Ethnicity Household Income
per 2004 survey data per 2009 data
Indians $60,600 $88,538[117]
Filipinos $39,700 $75,146[118]
Chinese $52,000 $69,037[119]
Japanese $48,400 $64,197[120]
Koreans $42,000 $53,025[121]
Total US Population $34,100 $50,221[122]

Among Overseas Filipinos, Filipino Americans are the largest senders of US dollars to the Philippines. In 2005, their combined dollar remittances reached a record-high of almost $6.5 billion. In 2006, Filipino Americans sent more than $8 billion, which represents 57% of the total amount received by the Philippines.[123]

Many Filipino Americans own restaurants, while others are in the medical, dental, and optical fields. Several are in the telemarketing business. Over 125,000 businesses are Filipino-owned, according to the 2002 US Economic Census.[124] These firms employ more than 132,000 people and generate an almost $14.2 billion in revenue. Of these businesses, 38.6% are health care and social assistance oriented and produces 39.3% of the collective Filipino-owned business revenue. California had the most number of these businesses followed by Hawaiʻi, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Florida, and Texas.[124]

At the point of retirement, a notable percentage of Filipino Americans return to the Philippines.[125] Amongst elderly Filipino Americans the poverty rate (7.7%) is lower than that of the total geriatric population (9.5%), and second lowest amongst Asian Americans.[4]


Filipino Americans have some of the highest educational attainment rates in the United States with 47.9% of all Filipino Americans over the age of 25 having a Bachelor's degree, which correlates with rates observed in other Asian American subgroups.[15]fig.11
The recent wave of Filipino professionals filling the education, healthcare, and information technology shortages in the United States also accounts for the high educational attainment rates.

Educational Attainment: 2004 (Percent of Population 25 and Older)[15]fig.11
Ethnicity High School Graduation Rate Bachelor's Degree or More
Asian Indians 90.2% 67.9%
Filipinos 90.8% 47.9%
Chinese 80.8% 50.2%
Japanese 93.4% 43.7%
Koreans 90.2% 50.8%
Total US Population 83.9% 27.0%

Due to the strong American influence in the Philippine education system, first generation Filipino immigrants are also at advantage in gaining professional licensure in the United States. According to a study conducted by the American Medical Association, Philippine-trained physicians comprise the second largest group of foreign-trained physicians in the United States (20,861 or 8.7% of all practicing international medical graduates in the U.S.).[126] In addition, Filipino American dentists who have received training in the Philippines comprise the second largest group of foreign-trained dentists in the United States. An article from the Journal of American Dental Association asserts that 11% of all foreign-trained dentists licensed in the U.S. are from the Philippines; India is ranked first with 25.8% of all foreign dentists.[127] The significant drop in the percentage of Filipino nurses from the 1980s to 2000 is due to the increase in the number of countries recruiting Filipino nurses (European Union, the Middle East, Japan), as well as the increase in number of countries sending nurses to the United States.[128]

American schools have also hired, and sponsored the immigration of, Filipino teachers and instructors.[129] Some of these teachers were forced into labor outside of the field of education, and mistreated by their recruiters.[130]

See also[edit]


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