Statistical profiles of Asian Americans
Dr. Don T. Nakanishi released April 20 2004 Statistical Portrait of Asian Americans and
Pacific Islanders. Dr. Nakanishi is Director and Professor, UCLA Asian American Studies
Center. The following is a statistical portrait of the Asian American and Pacific Islander
populations produced by the US Census Bureau for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in
2004. It provides current census data, population projections.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2004
In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. The
first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important anniversaries: the arrival in the
United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and the completion of the
transcontinental railroad (May 10, 1869). In 1992, Congress expanded the 10-day observance to a
month long celebration.
The estimated number of U.S. residents who say they are Asian or Asian in combination with one
or more other races. This group comprises 5 percent of the total population. Since Census 2000,
the number of people who are part of this group has increased 9 percent, the highest growth rate
of any race group.
The estimated number of U.S. residents who say they are native Hawaiian and other Pacific
islander or native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander in combination with one or more other
races. This group comprises 0.3 percent of the total population. Since Census 2000, the number
of people who are part of this group has increased 4 percent.
The projected number of U.S. residents who will identify themselves as Asian alone in 2050. They
would comprise 8 percent of the total population by that year.
The projected percentage increase between 2000 and 2050 in the population of people whose
only race is Asian. This compares with a 49 percent increase in the population as a whole over the
Income and Poverty
The 2002 median income of households whose householders reported their race as either Asian or
native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander (and who may or may not have reported any other
race). This income level represented a 4.5 percent decline in real dollars from 2001, but is still
much higher than the 2002 median of $42,409 for all households.
The poverty rate in 2002 for those who reported their race as either Asian or native Hawaiian and
other Pacific islander (and may or may not have reported any other race). This rate is not
statistically different from the rate for Asians and Pacific islanders in 2001.
The percentage of Asians and Pacific islanders age 25 and over with a bachelor's degree or higher.
Asians and Pacific islanders have the highest proportion of college graduates of any race or ethnic
group in the country. The corresponding rate for all adults in this age group is 27 percent.
The percentage of Asians and Pacific islanders 25 and over who are high school graduates. The
corresponding rate for all adults in this age group is 84 percent.
The percentage of Asians and Pacific islanders 25 and over with an advanced degree (e.g.,
master's, Ph.D., M.D. or J.D.). This amounts to 1.3 million Asians and Pacific islanders. The
corresponding rate for all adults in this age group is 9 percent.
The number of people who speak Chinese at home. Next to Spanish, Chinese is the most widely
spoken non-English language in the country. French and German rank third and fourth, but
Tagalog (1.2 million) ranks fifth, Vietnamese (1.0 million) sixth and Korean (894,000) eighth.
The number of Vietnamese speakers and the number of Italian speakers (in seventh place) are not
Coming to America
The number of foreign-born residents in the United States who were born in Asia. Asian-born
foreigm resodemts comprise one-fourth of the nation's total foreign-born population.
The percentage of the foreign-born population from Asia who are naturalized
U.S. citizens. The corresponding rate for the foreign-born population as a whole is 37 percent.
The number of foreign-born people from China. Next to Mexico, China is the leading country of birth for the nation's foreign-born. Also among the top 10 countries of birth for the foreign-born population are the Philippines,
India, Vietnam and Korea.
Serving Our Nation
The number of Asian American military veterans. There are 57,000 veterans
who are of native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander heritage.
About 75 percent of Asian and Pacific islander men age 16 and over and 59 percent of women are
in the civilian labor force. Among these, 41 percent of men and 37 percent of women are in
managerial and professional occupations.
The number of physicians and surgeons who report Asian as their only race and who are not
Hispanic. People of this race comprise 15 percent of all U.S. physicians and surgeons, compared
with 4 percent of the total population. Asians are represented in a wide variety of occupations.
For instance, there are about 89,000 non-Hispanic Asian postsecondary teachers; 43,000 chief
executives; 20,000 lawyers; 3,000 news analysts, reporters and correspondents; and 200 legislators.
A total of 2.7 million Asian American residents are Chinese (excluding Taiwanese) or Chinese
(excluding Taiwanese) in combination with one or more other races or Asian groups, making
Chinese the leading Asian group.Filipino (2.4 million) and Asian Indian (1.9 million) follow.
The largest Pacific islander groups are native Hawaiian (401,000) and Samoan (133,000).
The percentage of Asian and Pacific islanders who live in metropolitan areas. Fifty-one percent of
Asians and Pacific islanders live in the Western part of the United States.
The number of California residents who are Asian, making the Golden State home to the largest
number of Asian Americans of any state. Hawaii has the largest number of native Hawaiians and
other Pacific islanders at 271,000.
The percentage of Hawaii's population that is Asian, tops in the nation. For native Hawaiians and
other Pacific islanders, Hawaii is also the leader, with 22 percent of the state's population
belonging to this race group.
The number of people in Los Angeles County, Calif., who are Asian. Los Angeles leads all the
nation's counties in number of Asians. Honolulu County, Hawaii, had the largest native Hawaiian
and other Pacific islander population with 179,000.
The percentage of Honolulu County, Hawaii, residents who are Asian American. Honolulu is the
only county in the nation where Asians comprise a majority of the total population. Meanwhile,
Hawaii County, Hawaii, with 30 percent of its population being native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander,
leads in that race category. (Rankings limited to counties with minimum populations of 100,000.)
The percentage of Asians and Pacific islanders who are under 18. At the other end of the age
spectrum, 7 percent are 65 or older.
Children and Families
The percentage of Asian and Pacific islander households made up of families. Among these, nearly
2-in-10 have five or more members.
The percentage of Asians and Pacific islanders who are naturalized-citizen householders and who
own their homes. For Asians and Pacific islanders born in the United States, the homeownership
rate is 57 percent.
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