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Asians in America: A Demographic Overview

Asians in the United States are a highly diverse group that is growing fast not only in size, but in political and economic power as well. As data from the 2010 Census and other sources demonstrate, Asians comprise the fastest growing race group in the country. Two-thirds of all Asians are immigrants, the majority of whom have put down firm roots in this country. Nearly three-fifths of foreign-born Asians are naturalized U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote, and over half speak English “very well” or better. Asians as a whole (both foreign-born and native-born) are sizeable shares of the population and electorate in Hawaii and California, although their numbers are growing most rapidly in Nevada and Arizona. Of the major Asian groups, the Chinese population is the largest in size, but the number of Asian Indians is increasing the fastest. Asians tend to be well-educated, to work in professional jobs, and to own their own homes. They also wield significant economic clout. Asian businesses and consumers sustain millions of jobs and add hundreds of billions of dollars in value to the U.S. economy.

Asians are the fastest growing racial group in the United States and now comprise one out of every 20 people.

  • Between 2000 and 2010, the number of people in the United States who identified themselves as Asian, either alone or in combination with another race group, grew from 11.9 million to 17.3 million (an increase of 45.6%) {Figure 1}.
  • The number of people who identified themselves as Asian alone grew from 10.2 million to 14.7 million (an increase of 43.3%).
  • The number of people who identified themselves as Asian in combination with another race group grew from 1.7 million to 2.6 million (an increase of 59.8%).

  • In 2010, Asians (alone or in combination) comprised 5.6% of the total U.S. population {Figure 2}.
  •  4.8% of the U.S. population was Asian alone.
  •  0.9% of the U.S. population was Asian in combination.


Two-thirds of Asians are foreign-born, and nearly three-fifths of foreign-born Asians are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 66.5% of people who identified themselves as Asian alone were foreign-born in 2010 {Figure 3}.

  • 57% of foreign-born Asians were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2010, meaning that they can vote {Figure 4}.

Over half of foreign-born Asians speak English “very well” or better.

  • 53% of foreign-born Asians age five and up reported speaking only English or speaking it “very well” in 2010 {Figure 5}.
  • 41.8% of foreign-born Asians age five and up reported speaking English “very well” in 2010.
  • Another 11.2% of foreign-born Asians age five and up reported speaking only English in 2010.

 

The states with the largest Asian population shares are Hawaii and California, but the fastest growing Asian populations are in Nevada and Arizona.

  • As of 2010, Asians (alone or in combination) comprised 57.4% of the population in Hawaii, 14.9% in California, 9% in New Jersey, Nevada, and Washington, and 8.2% in New York {Figure 6}.

  • Between 2000 and 2010, the Asian population (alone or in combination) increased in size by 116% in Nevada, 94.6% in Arizona, 85.4% in North Carolina, 85.1% in North Dakota, and 82.9% in Georgia {Figure 7}.

Among the major Asian groups, the Chinese population is the largest, but the number of Asian Indians is growing the fastest.

  • As of 2010, 4 million Asians (alone or in combination) identified themselves as being of Chinese origin, 3.4 million Filipino, 3.2 million Asian Indian, 1.7 million Vietnamese, 1.7 million Korean, and 1.3 million Japanese {Figure 8}.

  • Between 2000 and 2010, the Chinese population grew by 45.6%, the Filipino by 44.5%, the Vietnamese by 42%, the Chinese by 40%, the Korean by 38.9%, and the Japanese by 13.5% {Figure 9}.

Half of Asians have a college degree.

  • One-fifth (20.3%) of Asians age 25 and over had a graduate degree (in addition to a bachelor’s degree) in 2010 {Figure 10}, up from 17.4% in 2000. In comparison, 10.4% of the U.S. population as a whole age 25 and over had a graduate degree in 2010.
  • More than one-quarter (29.6%) of Asians age 25 and over had a bachelor’s degree only in 2010 {Figure 10}, up from 26.7% in 2000. In comparison, 17.7% of the U.S. population as a whole age 25 and over had a bachelor’s degree only in 2010.

Nearly half of Asians work in professional jobs.

  • Nearly half (48.1%) of employed Asians age 16 and over worked in management, business, science, and arts occupations in 2010 {Figure 11}.
  • More than one-fifth (21.8%) of employed Asians age 16 and over worked in sales and office occupations in 2010 {Figure 11}.

 

Most Asian households are owner occupied.

  • 58.4% of Asian households were owner occupied in 2010, up from 53.4% in 2000.

The Asian share of the electorate is growing.

  • There were 2.3 million Asian voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, up from 2.1 million in the 2006 mid-terms.
  • In 2010, Asians were 2.4% of all voters, up from 2.2% in 2006.
  • Asians comprised 49.9% of all voters in Hawaii in 2010, and 9.4% in California.

Asians contribute significantly to the economy through their consumer purchasing power and entrepreneurship.

  • The nation’s 1.5 million Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $506 billion and employed 2.8 million people in 2007.
  • The purchasing power of Asians totaled $543.7 billion in 2010 (an increase of 371.3% since 1990), and is projected to reach $775.1 billion by 2015.

Published On: Thu, Apr 26, 2012 | Download File