NEW YORK: Asian-Americans for the first time have surpassed Hispanics as the fastest-growing immigrant group in the United States.
According to the far-reaching study from the Pew Research Center, as of 2010, 36 percent of immigrants arriving in the US are Asian, according to Census data, while just 31 percent are Hispanic.
Tritia Toyota, an anthropology Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, “If you hadn’t been paying attention in the past five years... this may come as a big surprise.”
Asian-Americans are small but fast-growing parts of the American population that may in the coming years have more influence--in politics and American life in general--than some people may realize, the new study suggests.
Asian-Americans still make up a relatively small portion of the country--they accounted for 5.8 percent of the population in 2011 while Hispanics, by comparison, made up 16.7 percent of the population.
Still, Asian-Americans are not only the fastest-growing racial group, but also the highest-income and best-educated, the survey shows.
On top of that, Asian-American communities are growing in some key political regions like Northern Virginia.
The political impact the Asian-American community may have is limited, given that three in 10 Asian-American adults are not citizens.
About half of Asian-Americans say they voted in the 2008 presidential election, according to the Pew study, in comparison to 67 percent of all US adults say they voted that year (according to Census data).
Those who do vote are likely to vote Democrat--the study shows that half of all Asian-Americans identify as Democrat or lean Democrat while just 28 percent identify with or lean towards the Republican Party.
That`s not too far off from the figures for Americans overall -- 49 percent lean Democrat--but Asian-Americans are more likely to support President Obama than Americans overall.
The survey found that 54 percent of Asian-Americans approve of Mr Obama`s job performance.
However, Mr Obama carried the Asian vote in 2008, winning 62 per cent support to John McCain`s 35 percent.
The Obama campaign this year is making specific efforts to reach out to Asian-American voters, particularly in a few states where their influence could be key- Nevada, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and California.
The Pew Research Center survey represented the overall Asian-American population, but it also included large enough samples to analyze the six largest country-of-origin groups: Chinese-Americans, Filipino-Americans, Indian-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, Korean-Americans and Japanese-Americans.
All of those groups combined comprise just 83 percent of the total Asian-American population.
The rise of Asian-American immigration also adds a new dimension to the debate over immigration policy.
“The dominant image of immigration people have in their minds is of a particular slice” of the experience, Karthick Ramakrishnan, a political science professor at the University of California, Riverside, said Tuesday -- namely, the Hispanic experience. “Immigration is more complicated than that.”
Pew found that 72 per cent of Asian-Americans agree with the statement “immigrants today strengthen the US because of their hard work and talents,” while only 17 percent agree with the statement that “immigrants today are a burden on the US because they take jobs, housing and health care.”
“What we’re really talking about is essentially a new immigrant community,” Tritia Toyota, an anthropology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said at a panel discussion of the survey on Tuesday. “If you hadn`t been paying attention in the past five years... this may come as a big surprise.”
BDST: 1615 HRS, JUN 23, 2012
Edited by: Abul Kalam Azad, Newsroom Editor / M. Mahbub Alam, Asst Output Editor