With all of the hubbub over the United States’ policies toward Mexican immigrants, it may surprise you to learn that Latinos are not the largest group immigrating to the country. Believe it or not, that distinction actually goes to Asians. As of late, more Asians immigrate to the United States annually than any other racial group. Moreover, by and large, the Asian American immigrants in this country are thriving, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.
Though Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial segment in the United States, they still comprise only about 6% of the American population. This number looks poised to grow, however, considering the recent trend in immigration patterns.
Unlike typical immigrant stories of hardship, Asian Americans demonstrate significant success. According to a Pew Research Center survey titled “The Rise of Asian Americans,” the majority of Asian Americans described their financial status as either “excellent” or “good,” a higher rate than the general population. In fact, the average Asian American household has an income of $66,000, which is more than $16,000 higher than that of the average household.
David Lee, a professor of political science at San Francisco State University, notes that this achievement level has changed greatly for the Asian American community in the past century. “One hundred years ago, they were the poorest of the poor. Today they are the best-paid, best-educated, most-in-demand workers in the country.”
The success of Asian Americans is likely due to the manner in which they immigrate. A lot of them come to the United States on a work visa, meaning that they have an immediate income. Furthermore, 61% of Asian American immigrant adults have a undergraduate degree, which is double the amount of immigrants of non-Asian descent.
The shift may have political ramifications, too: overall, Asian Americans are more liberal, happier with President Obama, and favor bigger government compared to most Americans. Overall, only 28% of Asian Americans identified as Republicans, with Vietnamese Americans being the only ethnicity that leans more conservative than liberal.
As it turns out, most “Asian Americans” do not even use that term to refer to themselves. Only one in five self-identify as “Asian American,” while 62% use more specific terms to describe their country of origin (i.e. Japanese American). Incidentally, four out of five Asians in America originated from one of just six countries: India, Vietnam, Japan, Philippines, South Korea and China.
Photo Credit: CLF