Filipino Population Remains 2nd Largest Asian Group in the U.S.
LOS ANGELES — Filipino-American officials are excited about the growing number of Filipinos and other Asian Americans in the United States and are hoping it could lead to more political power.
The U.S. Census Bureau released a report on Wednesday finding Asians have emerged as the fastest growing population amongst other racial or ethnic groups, nearly doubling within the past ten years.
The number of Filipinos living in the U.S. reached 3.4 million in 2010, maintaining its status as the second largest Asian community after the Chinese, according to the latest Census.
With 17.3 million people identifying themselves as Asians, millions of them Asian Americans, politicians should start focusing on gathering their vote, said Susan Dilkes, Executive Director of Filipino American Service Group Inc. (FASGI).
"Now more than ever Asians and Filipino Americans need to recognize they have political power," she told Asian Journal.
"Elected officials and those planning to run for office should start paying attention to us. But it's also up to us to educate them about our needs and issues."
Overlooked, but the future is bright
Yet, despite the growing numbers of Asian and Filipino-Americans, they still only constitute about 5.6 percent of the total U.S. population and because of this, they are often overlooked by politicians, who focus on gathering the votes of Latinos or African Americans.
One big problem is that the majority of Asians only live in ten states: California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania, some of which do not exactly carry a lot of political weight.
There's also the larger issue that most political campaigns neglect Asian American voters because of their lack of understanding of all the different cultures and because of their individual needs and issues.
"The potential gains are often times overlooked by politicians because of language barriers, the cultural diversity of the Asian American community, and the lack of available data," wrote Jon Skata for Nguoi Viet published on New America Media.
"So even though the Asian American population is a million potential voters more than the African American vote in California, political campaigns will overlook Asian Americans because political strategists understand black voting behavior better," paraphrasing panelists at a New America Media event in 2011.
Dilkes said Asian and Filipino-Americans voters still have a long way to go, but the future is bright.
"We're not there yet but we're getting there," she said. "You saw in the [latest] census more people identifying themselves as Asians as opposed to in 2000 when there weren't many checking any Asian boxes. So it's about education. We need to continue to educate our community why it's important to participate in the census because it's the politicians that look at those numbers."
Registering to vote: The most important thing
Dilkes said the most important thing Asians and Filipino Americans can do, to be recognized, is to register to vote.
"I do believe that's where it starts," she said. "We need to continue to register Filipinos to vote, get them out there so they can be heard and have a voice."
She also believes that in this upcoming election, there will be more FilAms voting because they see how issues like healthcare, rising gas prices and the economy is affecting them personally.
Asians grew by 30 percent or more in nearly every state
The Asian alone-or-in-combination population grew by at least 30 percent in all states except for Hawaii (11 percent increase). The top five states that experienced the most growth were Nevada (116 percent), Arizona (95 percent), North Carolina (85 percent), North Dakota (85 percent) and Georgia (83 percent). These same five states also experienced the most growth in the Asian alone population.
Asians represent more than 50 percent of the population in Hawaii
The states with the highest proportions of the Asian alone-or-in-combination population were in the West and the Northeast. The Asian alone-or-in-combination population represented 57 percent of the total population in Hawaii. California had the next highest proportion at 15 percent, followed by New Jersey (9 percent), Nevada (9 percent), Washington (9 percent) and New York (8 percent). These same six states had the highest proportions of the Asian alone population.
NYC has largest Asian population
The 2010 Census showed that New York had the largest Asian alone-or-in-combination population with 1.1 million, followed by Los Angeles (484,000) and San Jose, Calif. (327,000). Three other places — San Francisco, San Diego and Urban Honolulu — had Asian alone-or-in-combination populations of more than 200,000 people. This ranking was identical for the Asian alone population.
The places with a total population of 100,000 or more with the greatest proportion of the Asian alone-or-in-combination population were Urban Honolulu (68 percent) and nine California cities — Daly City (58 percent), Fremont (55 percent), Sunnyvale (44 percent), Irvine (43 percent), Santa Clara (41 percent), Garden Grove (39 percent), Torrance (38 percent), San Francisco (36 percent) and San Jose (35 percent).
Out of the total U.S. population, 14.7 million people, or 4.8 percent, were Asian alone. In addition, 2.6 million people, or another 0.9 percent, reported Asian in combination with one or more other races. Together, these two groups totaled 17.3 million people. Thus, 5.6 percent of all people in the United States identified as Asian, either alone or in combination with one or more other races.
3.4-million Filipinos and other info
The 2010 Census also provided information on detailed Asian groups. For example, the Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese populations each had 1 million or more people.
Chinese (4.0 million) was the largest detailed Asian group, with 3.3 million people reporting Chinese alone and an additional 700,000 people identifying as both Chinese and one or more additional detailed Asian groups and/or another race. Filipinos (3.4 million), followed by Asian Indians (3.2 million), had the next largest number of people who reported one or more detailed Asian groups and/or another race.
Among the Asian alone population that only reported one detailed Asian group, the order of the second and third largest groups switched — the Asian Indian (2.8 million) group was the second largest, followed by Filipino (2.6 million). The Chinese alone population remained the largest.
Among the detailed Asian groups with populations of 1 million or more, the Japanese population had the highest proportion that reported multiple detailed Asian groups and/or another race (41 percent). The Filipino population had the next highest proportion, in which 25 percent of Filipinos reported multiple detailed Asian groups and/or another race.
Geographic Distribution of detailed Asian groups
The geographic distribution of the detailed Asian groups focuses on the population that reported one or more detailed Asian groups and/or another race. Among detailed Asian groups with a population of 1 million or more, Japanese (71 percent) and Filipinos (66 percent) had the largest proportions living in the West. Large proportions of Chinese (49 percent), Vietnamese (49 percent) and Koreans (44 percent) lived in the West as well. A much lower proportion of Asian Indians (25 percent) lived in the West.
Among all detailed Asian groups, the Asian Indian population was the largest in 23 states, of which 13 were in the South, six in the Midwest and four in the Northeast.
For every state in the West, either the Filipino population or the Chinese population was the largest detailed Asian group. The Filipino population was the largest detailed Asian group in 11 states, the Chinese population was the largest in nine states and the District of Columbia, the Vietnamese population was the largest in five states, and the Hmong population was the largest in two states.
Filipino was the largest detailed Asian group in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, and Wyoming, while Chinese was the largest in Colorado, Oregon, and Utah. Outside of the West, Filipino was the largest detailed Asian group in South Dakota, while Chinese was the largest in the District of Columbia and North Dakota, as well as several states in the Northeast (Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont).
Among the 20 metropolitan statistical areas with the largest Asian alone-or-in-combination populations, Chinese was the largest detailed Asian group in six of the 20 metro areas (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Boston and Seattle). The Asian Indian population was also the largest detailed Asian group in six of the 20 metro areas (Chicago, Washington, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Detroit).
Filipinos were the largest in five of the 20 metro areas (San Diego, Riverside, Las Vegas, Sacramento and Phoenix), followed by Japanese, Hmong and Vietnamese in one metro area each (Honolulu, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Houston, respectively).
Largest multiple-race combination was Asian and White among Asians
Of the 17.3 million people who reported Asian, 2.6 million, or 15 percent, reported multiple races. Of the multiple-race Asian population, the majority (1.6 million or 61 percent) identified themselves as both Asian and white. The next largest combinations were Asian and "some other race" (9 percent), Asian and black (7 percent), Asian and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (6 percent), and Asian and white and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (5 percent).
People who reported only one race on their 2010 Census questionnaire are referred to as the race "alone" population. For example, respondents who marked only an Asian category or categories would be included in the Asian alone population. This population can be viewed as the minimum number of people reporting Asian.
Individuals who chose more than one of the six race category options on the 2010 Census form are referred to as the race "in combination" population, or as the group who reported more than one race. One way to define the Asian population is to combine those respondents who reported Asian alone with those who reported Asian in combination with one or more other races. Another way to think of the Asian alone-or-in-combination population is as the total number of people who reported Asian, whether or not they reported any other races.
Joseph Pimentel and Moma Visaya are writers for Asian Journal.
(With reports from the US Census Bureau)
Graphic from U.S. Census Report: 2010 Census Shows Asians are Fastest-Growing Race Group
This article originally appeared in Asian Journal.
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