A Pew Research Center report released today shows that Asian Americans have surpassed Latinos as the majority immigrant population. According to the study, this is due to the fact that the U.S. economy is becoming increasingly dependent on workers with specifically developed skills in science, engineering and math, which dovetails with Asian Americans being the nation’s best-educated minority group.
Meanwhile, Latino immigration, particularly from Mexico, has slowed due to a conflation of increased border enforcement and a weaker U.S. economy. Asian immigrants have overtaken Latinos annually since 2009, and in 2010 the rates were 36 percent to 31 percent influx respectively. There are 18.2-million Asian Americans in the U.S., comprising 6 percent of the total population.
"We went to great lengths in this survey methodology to get representative samples of the six largest Asian countries that immigrants have come from. We have samples of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino and Indian. Overall, we had 3,500 Asian Americans," said Kim Parker of the Pew Institute.
Parker said that Asian Americans are still a rare population from a survey perspective and there is more work to be done. However, the study does show that, in general, Asian Americans, "…do sort of hang together, and they have a set of values and opinions about their lives and their experiences in America and their hopes for the future that are sort of consistent in a way, and different from the general public."
Nearly half of all the 18.2-million Asian Americans in the U.S. are found in, you guessed it, California. So what does this mean for California politics?
"Given the findings of the Pew report and the tilting of the Asian American population to the Democratic party, I think we're going to see this impact politically, of course in the state of California we see this profoundly in the educational sector in the economy as trans-Pacific trade has become one of the most important drivers of the economy" said Edward Park Ph.D, professor of Asian Pacific American Studies at Loyola Marymount University. "On multiple fronts I think we're going to see a growing and more profound societal transformation as Asian-American numbers grow."
What do these new numbers mean for the Golden State? Will these findings negotiate a sea change in the way we view immigration itself? How are Asian American immigrants fundamentally different from Latinos? How will this play out politically, socially, educationally and otherwise? Are you an Asian American immigrant? What brought you to America and what do you hope to achieve here?
D’Vera Cohn, co-author of the new Pew Research Center report on Asian Americans
Kim Parker, co-author of the new Pew Research Center report on Asian Americans
Edward Park, Ph.D, professor of Asian Pacific American Studies, Loyola Marymount University