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Asian Americans Are a Fast-Growing, Diverse Group

2017-09-18

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  • The Asian American population is growing faster than any other major ethnic or racial group.
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  • From 2010 to 2016, 42 percent of the 8.1 million people who came to the United States from a foreign country were from Asia.
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  • Thirty-eight percent came from Latin America, 8.6 percent from Europe, and 8 percent from Africa.
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  • This information comes from a new U.S. Census Bureau report.
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  • For 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau said Asian Americans had the highest median annual income of all ethnic and racial groups.
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  • The median income for Asians was $81,431, about the same as 2015.
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  • That compared to a median income of $59,039 for all Americans.
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  • Pew said the U.S. Asian population is also better educated.
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  • About half of Asians 25 and older have a college degree.
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  • That compares to 30 percent among all Americans over age 25, Pew said.
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  • Along with education, the Pew study also noted a high level of English language skill among Asians.
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  • Seven of 10 Asians in the United States, ages 5 and up, speak English proficiently, the study said. U.S.-born Asian Americans are more likely to speak English well than foreign-born Asians.
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  • Stephanie Wong is chapter and membership associate with OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates.
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  • She said the information from the Census Bureau is somewhat misleading because it puts Asian Americans from many different backgrounds into one group.
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  • “The Asian American population is very diverse,” Wong said.
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  • She suspects some Asian Americans do not receive public or private assistance because of the mistaken belief all Asian Americans are doing well economically.
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  • To point out the diverse economic backgrounds of Asian Americans, the Pew Research Center looked at income levels for people from different Asian countries.
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  • In 2015, it said that Indian American households had a median income of $100,000, the highest among Asian Americans.
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  • For Filipino-Americans, the median household income was $80,000.
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  • But the Pew report said eight of the 19 Asian groups it examined had higher poverty rates than the U.S. average.
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  • They included the Hmong, Bhutanese and Burmese.
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  • The Asian American population now stands just short of 21 million people, the Census Bureau reported.
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  • That represents just over 6 percent of the American population.
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  • In a recent report, the Pew Research Center said Asian Americans likely will become the largest immigrant group in the United States.
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  • In 50 years, Asians should make up 38 percent of all U.S. immigrants, overtaking the current largest immigrant group, Hispanics, the Pew Center said.
  • [04:07.61]
  • William Frey researches urban populations, immigration and other issues for the Brookings Institution, a research center based in Washington D.C.
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  • He said immigration policies that support educated immigrants are likely to help Asians.
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  • But he said changes in American immigration policy could affect immigration from Asia, as well as other parts of the world.
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  • President Donald Trump and some Republicans in Congress have proposed a bill calling on America to reduce the number of legal immigrants admitted into the U.S. each year.
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  • They also want to give a preference to well-educated immigrants and/or those with job offers.
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  • Asian American people come from more than 20 countries in East and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
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  • Each has its own history, language and culture.
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  • Some of the biggest growth came from Bhutan, Nepal and Burma, the Pew center reported.
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  • But China continues to be the largest country of origin for Asian Americans.
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  • Chinese Americans numbered 4.9 million in 2015, or 24 percent of Asian Americans, Pew reported.
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  • Pew said that India is number two, with nearly 4 million people listing it as their country of origin.
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  • The other leading countries of origin for Asian Americans are the Philippines, 3.9 million; Vietnam, nearly 2 million; Korea, 1.8 million; Japan, 1.4 million; and Pakistan, 519,000.
  • [06:12.46]
  • I’m Bruce Alpert.
  • [06:14.80]
  • And I'm Jill Robbins.
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