Asian population surges in Los Angeles County

In 1990, only Monterey Park had an Asian majority. A report by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center released February 11 found that Asians now make up 61% of the population in Cerritos, 58% in Walnut, 52% in Rowland Heights and 50% in San Gabriel, San Marino and Rosemead. All but Cerritos are in the San Gabriel Valley, which experienced a 20% increase in Asian population between 1990 and 2000. Asian Americans now constitute half the population of seven Los Angeles County cities.

The Asian and Pacific Islander population in the county includes more than 45 ethnic groups speaking 28 languages. Countywide, the Asian population increased by 35% between 1990 and 2000, according to the study. Asians now constitute 13% of the county's population. The study, done in partnership with United Way, also examined education, healthcare, language proficiency and income of the county's Asian and Pacific Islanders. While 42% of Asian Americans have at least a bachelor's degree, 18% do not have a high school education. More than half of Cambodians lack high school diplomas. Among Chinese, 43% of Chinese had college or advanced degrees, 24% did not graduate from high school.

Economically, Asians median income was $47,406, higher than all other racial groups except for whites. But some Asian groups were among the poorest in the county, with half of Hmongs and 38% of Cambodians living below the poverty line.

The single fastest-growing group of Asians in the county were Chinese Americans, who now make up 27% of the county's Asian population of 1.3 million. (Source: K. Connie Kang and David Pierson, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 12, 2004).

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