From Many Shores: Asians in Census 2000
Report by the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional
University at Albany
October 6, 2001
This report was prepared by Dr. John R. Logan with the assistance of
Jacob Stowell and Elena Vesselinov.
Census 2000 documents a 69% growth of the Asian population in the United States in the
last ten years, up to over 12 million persons. The Asian presence in this country was once
symbolized by Chinatowns in major cities; there are now as many as six distinct Asian
national-origin groups with more than a million residents. And whereas Asians have often
been thought of uniformly as a single model minority, it is time to recognize
the very large differences that exist between the Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, and other
major Asian groups.
This report summarizes briefly what we know about Americas Asian minorities at the
start of the 21st Century: their origins and growth, their heterogeneity in social
background and economic achievement, and trends in their location within the country.
Growth in the 1990-2000 decade
In the last decade the total Asian population increased from 7.2 million to 12.3 million.
The Asian share of the total population rose from 2.9% to 4.4%, still much smaller than
the countrys African American or Hispanic minorities, but a much more considerable
presence today than in the past, and very prominent in some states and metro areas.
Table 1 shows that the Chinese remain the largest single national-origin group, now about
2.7 million and nearly a quarter of the Asian total. They are followed by Filipinos (who
maintained about a 20% share), now 2.4 million. Asian Indians are the fastest growing
group - fifth largest in 1990 but now third, more than doubling in the decade, and
reaching 1.9 million in 2000.
Three other groups have more than a million residents, and each represents about a tenth
of Asians. Of these, the Japanese have the longest history in the country, but their
growth has been modest. The other two are Koreans (up by half) and Vietnamese (who doubled