Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Asian America: Half a dozen facts as Asians become the biggest group of new immigrants

Source: Pew Research Center

As the historic wave of migration from Mexico of the late 20th century slowed to a standstill, a new chapter in United States immigration history was slowly unfolding.

Early last year, census numbers from California showed that Asian Americans had eclipsed Latinos in population growth. And as California goes, so goes the nation. Now that immigration from Latin America has receded, immigration from Asia has surpassed it, according to a Pew Research Center report released today. More immigrants from Asia arrived in the United States in 2010 than from Latin America, with authorized and unauthorized migration considered.

None of this happened overnight, of course. Asian immigrant communities in the United States have very deep roots. More than a hundred years ago, Chinese Americans became the first immigrant group in the U.S. targeted by exclusionary immigration laws, at a time when migration from China was prevalent. In the last half-century, though, as more immigrants from Southeast Asia and India arrived, the Asian American population grew to a record 18.2 million in 2011, or 5.8 percent of the total population. That's more than five times what it was in 1965.

The Pew report incorporates more than population numbers, listing details that some may not know about the nation's most culturally diverse group of new immigrants ranging from the personal to the political. One interesting thing to start off with, and which lies behind some of these details: Recent Asian immigrants are about three times as likely as peers from other parts of the world to receive permanent resident status via an employer, versus family sponsorship.

Half a dozen interesting facts from the report:

There are more complex nuances to the report, some of which I'll parse out in the coming days. The entire report can be downloaded here.