Skip Main Navigation Skip To Navigation Content

Newsroom Archive

Release Information


Contact:  Mark Tolbert
Public Information Office
(301) 457-3691\457-3620 (fax)
(301) 457-1037 (TDD) e-mail:


Census 2000: Chinese Largest Asian Group in the United States

Chinese comprised more than 20 percent of the 11.9 million people who identified themselves as Asians in Census 2000, according to a new report released today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau. That translates into 2.7 million reporting as Chinese -- the largest Asian group in the United States.

The Asian Population: 2000, one in a series of Census 2000 briefs, also showed that about 50 percent of the Asians resided in three states: California, New York and Hawaii. Two of these states had Asian populations exceeding 1 million: California (4.2 million) and New York (1.2 million).

Other highlights:


  • According to Census 2000, of all the people who reported as Asian, 49 percent lived in the West; 20 percent, in the Northeast; 19 percent, in the South; and 12 percent, in the Midwest.
  • The West, with 9.3 percent, also had the highest proportion of people reporting that they were Asian as a percentage of the total population, followed by the Northeast, with 4.4 percent; the South, with 2.3 percent; and the Midwest, with 2.2 percent.


  • Three-fourths (75 percent) of all the people reporting as Asian resided in 10 states: California, New York, Hawaii, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Virginia and Massachusetts; but only 47 percent of the total population lived in these states.
  • California had the largest number of people reporting as Asian.


  • The eight counties with the highest concentration of Asians (more than 25 percent) were in the West. Honolulu County in Hawaii had the highest proportion of Asians (62 percent). Three other counties in Hawaii (Kauai, Maui and Hawaii) were more than 47 percent Asian, followed by two counties each in Alaska (Aleutians East Borough and Aleutians West Census Area) and the San Francisco Bay area of California (San Francisco and Santa Clara).
  • The majority of counties that had Asian populations more than twice the national average were concentrated in the suburbs of large metropolitan areas, such as Seattle; Los Angeles; San Francisco; New York; Newark, N.J.; Washington; Chicago; Houston; and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
  • Outside the suburbs of large metropolitan areas, concentrations of Asians were located near colleges and universities.


  • New York City, with 873,000, had the largest number of people reporting as Asian, followed by Los Angeles, with 407,000.
  • Honolulu had the highest percentage of people reporting as Asian -- 68 percent -- among places with 100,000 or more population, followed by Daly City, Calif., with 54 percent.

Detailed Asian Groups

  • More people reported Chinese alone than any other Asian group. Filipinos and Asian Indians were the next largest Asian groups. These three groups combined accounted for 58 percent of those who identified as Asian alone.
  • The same three groups also made up 57 percent of those who identified themselves as an Asian group in combination with one or more other races or Asian groups.

Census 2000 data on race are not directly comparable with data from the 1990 census or earlier censuses because in 2000, for the first time, respondents could report one or more races.

A listing of released and forthcoming Census 2000 titles can be found on the Census Bureau's Web site at <>, including briefs on topics such as race, Hispanic origin, gender and housing.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | | Last Revised: September 09, 2014