This report presents a portrait of the Asian population in the United States.1 It is part of the American Community Survey (ACS) report series. Information on demographic, social, economic, and housing characteristics in the tables and figures are based on data from the 2004 ACS Selected Population Profiles and Detailed Tables.2 The data for the Asian population are based on responses to the 2004 ACS question on race, which asked all respondents to report one or more races.3
The 2004 ACS estimated the number of Asians to be 13.5 million, or 4.7 percent of the U.S. household population (Table 1).4 The number of individuals who reported Asian as their only race was 12.1 million, or 4.2 percent of the population. About another 1.4 million reported their race as Asian and one or more other races, including 882,000 people who reported their race as Asian and White.5 The Asian-alone-or-in-combination population included 328,000 Hispanics, and the Asian-alone population included 142,000 Hispanics.6
Data are reported for both the Asian-alone and the Asian-alone-or-in-combination populations. In this report, respondents who reported Asian and no other race are included in the single-race or Asian-alone population (i.e., including those who reported their race as one or more detailed Asian groups but no non-Asian race). Respondents who reported Asian either alone or with one or more other race categories are included in the Asian-alone-or-in-combination population. The report also includes data for the non-Hispanic segments of these populations. Data on individuals who reported that they were Asian and White, a part of the in-combination population, are shown separately in this report in the Asian and White category.
The term “Asian” is used to refer to the Asian-alone population and the term “non-Hispanic White” is used to refer to the White-alone, not Hispanic population. Similarly, references to population groups such as Asian Indian refer to the single-race or “alone” segments of those populations.
The Asian population is not homogeneous; it includes many groups that differ in language and culture, and many people having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent.
People who reported one or more Asian groups on the ACS question on race, such as Asian Indian or Japanese, are included as Asians. Among Asians, Chinese (excluding those of Taiwanese origin) were the largest group with a population of 2.8 million, or 23 percent of the Asian-alone population. Asian Indians were the second-largest group, with a population of 2.2 million, or 19 percent of the Asian-alone population (Table 2). Filipinos were the third-largest group, with a population of 2.1 million, or 18 percent of the population. These three groups—Chinese, Asian Indians, and Filipinos—accounted for about 60 percent of the Asian population. Other sizable populations included 1.3 million Vietnamese and 1.3 million Koreans.
Because Asians are a heterogeneous group, variation within the Asian population is also discussed. This report includes data for the following specific groups that each had populations of 250,000 or more: Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Together, these groups account for nearly 90 percent of the total Asian population. In the future, as the ACS goes to full implementation and multiple-year estimates are produced, more information about additional groups may be available.
1 In the federal government, the category “Asian” refers to people having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. It includes people who indicated their race or races as “Asian Indian,” “Chinese,” “Filipino,” “Korean,” “Japanese,” “Vietnamese,” or “Other Asian,” or wrote in entries such as Burmese, Hmong, Pakistani, or Thai.
2 The 2004 ACS datasets, including Selected Population Profiles and Detailed Tables, are available online in the AmericanFactFinder at <factfinder.census.gov>.
3 For further information on the content and format of the questionnaire, see <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/methodology/questionnaire-archive.2003-2004.html>.
4 This report discusses data for the United States, including the 50 states and the District of Columbia; it does not include data for Puerto Rico.
5 The race-in-combination categories use the conjunction and in bold and italicized print to link the race groups that compose the combination.
6 The estimates in this report are based on responses from a sample of households. Estimates may vary from the actual values because of sampling error and other factors. All comparative statements have undergone statistical testing and are significant at the 90-percent confidence level unless otherwise noted.