Asians Are Fastest-Growing Racial Group in U.S.
By Phillip Kurata
Washington - U.S. residents of Asian descent were the fastest-growing segment by race of the U.S. population in the first decade of the 21st century, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
A bureau report released in March said people in the U.S. population who trace 100 percent of their origins back to Asia numbered 14.7 million in the 2010 census, while people who said their Asian heritage was mixed with one or more other races numbered 2.6 million. Combined, the two categories totaled 17.3 million, accounting for 5.6 percent of the U.S. population. Their numbers grew by 45.6 percent from 2000 to 2010, compared to 9.7 percent growth for the overall population.
The bureau defines the U.S. Asian population as people who say their roots extend entirely or partially back to the Far East, Southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent, including - for example - Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, North or South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Asians in the United States are faring well economically, by and large. The median household income for single-race Asians was nearly $69,000 in 2010, compared to the $52,000 U.S. national average. Asian communities in the United States reported a range of incomes, including a median annual income of more than $90,000 among Indian households and less than $47,000 for Bangladeshi households.
In terms of educational attainment, a high percentage of U.S. Asians go to university. The bureau reports that 50 percent of people at least 25 years old who identify themselves as single-race Asians have a bachelor's degree. The percentage for the overall U.S. population is 28 percent. Twenty percent of the same category have gone on for more advanced degrees, such as master's, doctorates or professional degrees. This is double the percentage of the total U.S. population that has advanced degrees.
Within the U.S. Asian community, the Chinese were the largest subgroup, numbering 4.0 million, followed by Filipinos (3.4 million) and Indians (3.2 million). These three groups accounted for 60 percent of the single-race Asian category. The fastest-growing subgroup among U.S. Asians was the population from the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. There were about 200 Bhutanese living in the United States in 2000; their number expanded to more than 19,000 by 2010. Still, the Bhutanese population remains one of the smaller Asian subgroups in the United States.
Where have the Asians in the United States settled? The Census Bureau says that Asian population in every state except Hawaii grew by at least 30 percent, with the most growth occurring in Nevada (116 percent), Arizona (95 percent), North Carolina (94 percent), North Dakota (85 percent), and Georgia (83 percent). But the U.S. Asian population is not evenly distributed across the country. Nearly three-fourths of all Asians live in just 10 states - California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania, the bureau reported.
What does the future hold for the Asian population in the United States? The Census Bureau projects that the number of U.S. residents who identify themselves as Asian or Asian in combination with one or more other races will rise to 40.6 million by the 21st century's midpoint, making up 9 percent of the U.S. population.
The Census Bureau report on the U.S. Asian population is available on the Census Bureau's website.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. )