A rising minority

Asian Americans in the United States: Strength in diversity

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – As the migration flow from Latin America declined in recent years, Asians moving to the United States have steadily risen, providing some dynamic changes in American society and workplace.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, and new census data, more Asians, particularly from India, China, Vietnam, Korea and the Philippines, arrived in the U.S. over the past 10 years than people of Hispanic origin .

In 2010, about 430,000 Asians, or 36 percent of new immigrants, came, compared to 370,000 Hispanics, or 31 percent.

Just three years before, or in 2007, about 390,000 new immigrants were Asians while 540,000 were Hispanics, census data showed.

Now, Asian Americans constitute the largest group of immigrants in the U.S.

The dramatic shift was triggered by stricter enforcement of immigration laws that also tended to favor wealthy and better-educated immigrants.

In its report titled “The Rise of Asian Americans,” released on June 19, the Pew Research Center said that from just 1 percent of the U.S. population in 1965, Asian Americans now make up 6 percent.

“And in an economy that increasingly relies on highly skilled workers, they are the best-educated, highest-income, fastest-growing race group in the country,” the report said.

The report was based on a Pew Research Center telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 3,511 Asian Americans conducted from Jan. 3 to March 27, 2012, in English and seven Asian languages.

The sample was designed to enable findings to be reported about each of the six largest country of origin subgroups as well as about the Asian American population as a whole.

The report combined these survey findings with a detailed analysis of economic and demographic data from the census and other official sources.

“Millions of us Asian Americans of Filipino roots are ready to take our place as assets to this great land,” said a Filipino American newspaper, Philippine News, in an editorial. “We have a role to play in the future of this country.”

Although no exact figures are readily available, Filipino Americans are estimated to number 7.1 million, just behind Chinese Americans as the largest Asian American group.

The Pew Research Center report also explored similarities and differences among Asian Americans themselves, a diverse population with distinctive languages, religions, cultures, histories and pathways to the United States.

Some key data about Asian Americans: (Pew Research Center)

  • Among new arrivals, more than 60 percent of those ages 25 to 64 have graduated from college.
  • in 2010, Asian Americans (foreign and U.S.-born) earned 45 percent of Ph.D’s, 38 percent of doctorate in match and computer sciences and 33 percent of doctorates in the physical sciences.
  • Household median income $65,200 compared to $50,000 national average (2010)


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