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Facts for Features
CB11-FF.06
April 29, 2011 (REVISED)

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2011


Note: This edition of Facts for Features has been updated with recently released findings from the 2010 Census and 2007 Survey of Business Owners on the Asian and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander populations.

In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869. In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration. Per a 1997 Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Thus, this Facts for Features contains a section for each.

Asians

17.3 million

The estimated number of U.S. residents of Asian descent, according to the 2010 Census. This group comprised 5.6 percent of the total population. This count includes those who said they were both Asian alone (14.7 million) and Asian in combination with one or more additional races (2.6 million).
Source: 2010 Census Brief — Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin <http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf>

5.6 million

The Asian alone or in combination population in California; the state had the largest Asian population in the 2010 Census, followed by New York (1.6 million). In Hawaii, Asians made up the highest proportion of the total population (57 percent).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File, Custom Table 3,
<http://2010.census.gov/news/press-kits/redistricting.html>

46%

Percentage growth of the Asian alone or in combination population between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, which was more than any other major race group.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File, Custom Table 3,
<http://2010.census.gov/news/releases/operations/cb11-cn123.html>

3.8 million

Number of Asians of Chinese descent in the U.S. in 2009. Chinese-Americans were the largest Asian group, followed by Filipinos (3.2 million), Asian Indians (2.8 million), Vietnamese (1.7 million), Koreans (1.6 million) and Japanese (1.3 million). These estimates represent the number of people who reported a specific Asian group alone, and people who reported that Asian group in combination with one or more other Asian groups or races.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

$68,780

Median household income for single-race Asians in 2009.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Median household income differed greatly by Asian group. For Asian Indians, for example, the median income in 2009 was $90,429; for Bangladeshi, it was $46,657. (These figures represent the single-race population.)
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

12.5%

The poverty rate for single-race Asians in 2009, not statistically different from the 2008 poverty rate. Between 2008 and 2009, the poverty rate increased for non-Hispanic whites (from 8.6 percent to 9.4 percent), for blacks (from 24.7 percent to 25.8 percent) and for Hispanics (from 23.2 percent to 25.3 percent).
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb10-144.html>

17.2%

Percentage of single-race Asians without health insurance coverage in 2009, not statistically different from 2008.
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb10-144.html>

Education

50%

The percentage of single-race Asians 25 and older who had a bachelor's degree or higher level of education. This compared with 28 percent for all Americans 25 and older.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

85%

The percentage of single-race Asians 25 and older who had at least a high school diploma. This is not statistically different from the percentage for the total population or the percentage of Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander alone, 85 and 86 percent respectively.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

20%

The percentage of single-race Asians 25 and older who had a graduate (e.g., master's or doctorate) or professional degree. This compared with 10 percent for all Americans 25 and older.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Voting

589,000

How many more single-race Asians voted in the 2008 presidential election than in the 2004 election. All in all, 48 percent of Asians turned out to vote in 2008 — up 4 percentage points from 2004. A total of 3.4 million Asians voted.
Source: Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/voting/cb09-110.html>

Businesses

Source for the statements referenced in this section, unless otherwise indicated: 2007 Survey of Business Owners via American FactFinder
<http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/main.html?_lang=en>

1.5 million

Number of businesses owned by Asian-Americans in 2007, an increase of 40.4 percent from 2002.

$507.6 billion

Total receipts of businesses owned by Asian-Americans, up 55.4 percent from 2002.

In 2007, 44.7 percent of Asian-owned businesses were in repair and maintenance; personal and laundry services; professional, scientific and technical services; and retail trade.

47.2%

Percentage of businesses in Hawaii owned by people of Asian descent. It was 14.9 percent in California and 10.1 percent in New York.

510,000

California had the most Asian-owned firms at 509,097 (32.9 percent of all such firms), with receipts of $181.9 billion (35.8 percent of all Asian-owned firm receipts). New York was second with 196,852 Asian-owned firms or 12.7 percent, with receipts of $50.6 billion or 10.0 percent. Texas was third in number of Asian-owned firms with 114,336 or 7.4 percent, with receipts of $40.2 billion or 7.9 percent. New Jersey accounted for 4.4 percent of all Asian-owned firms and 5.9 percent of receipts, while Florida accounted for 4.2 percent of all Asian-owned firms and 3.4 percent of receipts.

Languages

2.6 million

The number of people 5 and older who spoke Chinese at home in 2009. After Spanish, Chinese was the most widely spoken non-English language in the country. Tagalog, Vietnamese and Korean were each spoken at home by more than 1 million people.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Serving Our Nation

258,183

The number of single-race Asian military veterans. About one in three veterans was 65 years and older.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Jobs

49%

The proportion of civilian employed single-race Asians 16 and older who worked in management, professional and related occupations, such as financial managers, engineers, teachers and registered nurses. Additionally, 17 percent worked in service occupations, 22 percent in sales and office occupations and 10 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Internet Use

80%

Percentage of Asians living in a household with Internet use — the highest rate among race and ethnic groups.
Source: Reported Internet Usage for Households, by selected Householder Characteristics; Current Population Survey: 2009 <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/computer/2009.html>

Counties

1.4 million

The number of Asians (self-identified as Asian alone or in combination with one or more other races) in Los Angeles County, Calif., in 2009, which topped the nation's counties.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.html>

17,000

Gain in Santa Clara County, Calif.'s Asian population (self-identified as Asian alone or in combination with one or more other races) from 2008 to 2009, the largest in the nation.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.html>

57%

Percent of the population of Honolulu County, Hawaii, that was Asian (self-identified as Asian alone or in combination with one or more other races) in 2009, which led the country. Honolulu was the only majority-Asian county in the nation.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.html>

Age Distribution

35.3

Median age of the single-race Asian population in 2009. The corresponding figure was 36.8 years for the population as a whole.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.html>

23.6%

Percent of the single-race Asian population that was under age 18 as of July 1, 2009 while 9.6 percent was 65 or older.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.html>

The Future

40.6 million

The projected number of U.S. residents in 2050 who will identify themselves as Asian or Asian in combination with one or more other races. They would comprise 9 percent of the total population by that year.
Source: Population projections <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb08-123.html>

161%

The projected percentage increase between 2008 and 2050 in the population of people who identify themselves as Asian or Asian in combination with one or more other races. This compares with a 44 percent increase in the population as a whole over the same period of time.
Source: 2008 Population projections <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb08-123.html>

Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders

1.2 million

The number of U.S. residents who said they were Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, either alone or in combination with one or more additional races, according to the 2010 Census. This group comprised 0.4 percent of the total population. Over half of all people who identified as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander reported multiple races (56%).
Source: 2010 Census Brief — Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin <http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf>

Hawaii had the largest population of Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders among the alone or in combination population with 356,000, followed by California (286,000). In Hawaii, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders comprised the largest proportion (26 percent) of the total population.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File, Custom Table 3, <http://2010.census.gov/news/press-kits/redistricting.html>

40%

Percentage growth of the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone or in combination population between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File, Custom Table 3, <http://2010.census.gov/news/releases/operations/cb11-cn123.html>

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

$53,455

The median income of households headed by single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

15.1%

The poverty rate for those who classified themselves as single-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. This is not significantly different from the 2008 poverty rate.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

17.3%

The percentage without health insurance for single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Education

14%

The percentage of single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders 25 and older who had at least a bachelor's degree. This compared with 28 percent for the total population.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

86%

The percentage of single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders 25 and older who had at least a high school diploma. This is not statistically different from either the percentage for the total population or the percentage of Asian alone, both 85 percent.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

4%

The percentage of single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders 25 and older who had obtained a graduate or professional degree. This compared with 10 percent for the total population this age.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Businesses

Source for the statements referenced in this section, unless otherwise indicated:
2007 Survey of Business Owners via American FactFinder
<http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/main.html?_lang=en>

37,809

The number of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses in 2007, up 30.6 percent from 2002.

$6.3 billion

Total receipts of these businesses, up 48.0 percent from 2002.

44.4%

The percent of all Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned business revenue that construction and retail trade accounted for.

9.5%

The percent of businesses in Hawaii owned by Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islanders, highest among all states.

Serving Our Nation

30,110

The number of single-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander military veterans. About one in five veterans was 65 years and older.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Jobs

24%

The proportion of civilian employed single-race Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders 16 and older who worked in management, professional and related occupations, such as financial managers, engineers, teachers and registered nurses. This is not significantly different from the 25 percent worked in service occupations, while 28 percent worked in sales and office occupations and 14 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations.
Source: 2009 American Community Survey <http://factfinder.census.gov>

Counties

176,000

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population (alone or in combination with one or more other races) in Honolulu County, Hawaii, in 2009, which led the nation. Among counties, Harris County, Texas had the largest numerical increase in this race since July 2008 — 722. Hawaii County, Hawaii, had the highest percentage of people of this race (30 percent).
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.html>

Age Distribution

29.9

The median age of the single-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population in 2009. The median age was 36.8 for the population as a whole.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.html>

34%

Percentage of the single-race Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population that was under age 18 as of July 1, 2009 while 6.3 percent was 65 or older.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.html>

The Future

2.6 million

The projected number of U.S. residents in 2050 who will identify themselves as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander in combination with one or more other races. They would comprise 0.6 percent of the total population by that year.
Source: Population projections <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb08-123.html>

132%

The projected percentage increase between 2008 and 2050 in the population of people who identify themselves as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander in combination with one or more other races. This compares with a 44 percent increase in the population as a whole over the same period of time.
Source: Population projections <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb08-123.html>

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Earth Day (April 22)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

[PDF] or PDF denotes a file in Adobe’s Portable Document Format. To view the file, you will need the Adobe® Reader® Off Site available free from Adobe. This symbol Off Site indicates a link to a non-government web site. Our linking to these sites does not constitute an endorsement of any products, services or the information found on them. Once you link to another site you are subject to the policies of the new site.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: July 15, 2014