October 18, 2012

The latest federal statistics on Asian immigrants are out and my jaw dropped. Wow: 25% of all the foreign-born folks in the United States are now from Asia. They are more likely to be married and living in multi-generational households. Four states have more than half a million Asian immigrant residents, including…Texas. 

With these new stats, we might have more useful data for informed discussions about where the community is going. While Census takers have their share of problems in trying to get accurate counts, they still offer us plenty of solid information for us to think about.

What follows below is a press release directly from the U.S. Census. Please note that there are three active links that will take you directly to the government reports. I am refraining from commenting on how I feel about the findings. There’s plenty of room for me to sound off in the comments section — after you’ve had a chance to read the post. 

The map link in the press release is especially fun because it breaks out where Asian immigrants live. While it’s no surprise to learn that the largest clusters are in the Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco area, what do you think of the news that the #4 top city is Chicago followed by Washington, D.C.? The maps also details country of origin (China, Korea, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Japan, Philippines, South Vietnam, Iran, etc.)

Okay, here we go:

In 2011, the foreign-born from Asia were more likely to be married compared with the total foreign-born and native-born. Households with a householder born in Asia were also more likely to be multigenerational, according to statistics from the 2011 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The percentage of foreign-born from Asia who were married was higher (65.8 percent) than for all foreign-born (58.3 percent) or for native-born (46.5 percent). In addition, multigenerational households — three or more generations living together — were more common among households with a householder born in Asia (9.4 percent) than a native-born householder (4.9 percent). Among major country-of-birth groups from Asia, households with a householder born in the Philippines (14.8 percent) or in Vietnam (12.3 percent) were the most likely to be multigenerational.

The metro areas with the largest foreign-born populations from Asia were Los Angeles and New York, both with more than 1.5 million, followed by San Francisco (707,000), Chicago (439,000) and Washington (432,000). <See graphs>. (The totals for Chicago and Washington are not statistically different from one another)

In 2011, about 13 percent of the 311.6 million people living in the United States were foreign-born, including 11.6 million from Asia, accounting for more than one-fourth (29 percent) of all foreign-born.

Today, the Census Bureau also released a brief based on the American Community Survey: The Foreign Born From Asia: 2011. This brief discusses the size, place of birth, citizenship sta­tus, educational attainment and geographic distribution of the foreign-born from Asia in the United States. Additional detailed information about specific Asian country-of-birth groups is available in the report and from the selected population profiles in American FactFinder.

Other highlights from the brief and the 2011 American Community Survey:

Countries of Birth

The five Asian countries of birth with the most foreign-born in the United States were China with 2.2 million, followed by India, 1.9 million; the Philippines, 1.8 million; Vietnam, 1.3 million; and Korea, 1.1 million. (The totals for India and the Philippines are not statistically different from one another)

Educational Attainment

In 2011, 83 percent of the 25-and-older Asia-born population had at least a high school diploma and 48 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher. By comparison, among the foreign-born 25-and-older from all other regions, 63 percent had at least a high school diploma and 19 percent had at least a bachelor’s degree.

Among the five largest Asian country-of-birth groups, the 25-and-older foreign-born from India, Korea and the Philippines had the highest percentages with at least a high school diploma, each with 92 percent. Seventy-five percent of the 25-and-older population born in India had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with the 25-and-older population born in Korea (51 percent), China (50 percent) and the Philippines (48 percent). (The totals for Korea and China are not statistically different from one another)

Naturalized Citizen

The foreign-born from Asia were more likely to be naturalized citizens (58 percent) than the foreign-born from all other world regions combined (40 percent).


Four states had more than a half-million foreign-born from Asia: California (3.7 million), New York (1.2 million), Texas (778,000) and New Jersey (593,000).

When combined, these four states accounted for more than half of all foreign-born from Asia (54 percent). California alone represented almost one-third of the total foreign-born from Asia.

The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about people and housing for every community across the country and in Puerto Rico. The results are used by everyone from retailers, homebuilders and fire departments, to town and city planners. The survey is the primary source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as education, occupation, language, nativity, ancestry and housing costs for even the smallest communities. Ever since Thomas Jefferson directed the first census in 1790, census questions have collected detailed characteristics of the nation’s people.


Well, that’s the whole press release. Your reactions? I would love to read your comments. There’s a ton of data here and it’s always fascinating to see what vibes with people.  :)