Report reveals Asian Americans fastest-growing group in LA

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Filipinos have least incidence of poverty, low-income

LOS ANGELES – In a report released by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (AAAJ-LA) on September 25, the Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities LA County remained as the fastest-growing groups in the last decade — accounting for the county’s increasing diversity.

The report (entitled A Community of Contrasts) focuses on LA County results of surveys and data mining about the Asian Americans and NHPI populations California.

In February, AAAJ-LA (then named the Asian Pacific American Legal Center or APALC), issued a similar report that covered all of California.

According to data included in AAAJ-LA’s report from  the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), there are nearly 930,000 Asian Americans and 7,700 NHPI immigrants in LA County.

Meanwhile, data from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shows the number of Asian Americans and NHPIs who obtained Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status at 310,000 and 7,700 respectively.

While the county’s overall population growth slowed to a mere 3 percent from 2000-2010, Asian Americans grew by 20 percent over the decade – a number that’s significantly faster than any ethnic group, the report said. Part of this population explosion is the influx of Filipino migrants into the county.

As of the 2010 Census, Filipinos are the second most populous Asian American group in Los Angeles, accounting for 374,285 people.

From 2000 to 2010, Filipinos grew by as much as 26 percent.

According to AAAJ-LA Research Analyst Kristin Sakaguchi, there are more Filipinos in LA County than in any county in the US.

63 percent of Filipinos in LA are born outside of the US.  Of 310,000 Asian Americans given Legal Permanent Resident status in LA, Filipinos account for 84,659.

The Chinese remained as the largest group, at 403,730 as of 2010. The fastest-growing  Asian American groups are the South Asians from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India. The Bangladeshi grew by 122 percent over the decade.

The report also estimates that there are roughly 130,000 undocumented Asian Americans in LA County.


The report said that over one-fifth of the Filipinos still struggle in communication because of Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Twenty-one percent of Filipinos were reported to have difficulties in communicating in English.

Overall, approximately 67 percent of Asian American seniors have LEP.


According to the report, Asian Americans and NHPI adults aged 25 years or older are less likely to hold a high school diploma or a GED, compared to Caucasians.

NHPI are less likely than Blacks or African Americans to hold a college degree.

In spite of this disproportionate distribution of educational opportunities, Filipinos remain as one of the most well-educated ethnic groups in LA County.

About 92 percent of Filipinos have a high school diploma or higher — the second highest rate across the county. Across the entire Asian American population, 87 percent have high school diplomas or higher.

Of the total population of LA County, only 76 percent are high school-educated or have higher education.

The Japanese community have the highest percentage of community members who have high school diplomas or higher education, at 95 percent.

Across LA, only 29 percent of Angelenos hold college degrees or higher.

However, 54 percent of  the Filipino population have a bachelor’s degree or higher — the fourth highest rate across all ethnic groups.

The rate of Filipinos who have higher education is ten percentage points higher than Caucasians (at 44 percent).

Indians ranked highest (at 66 percent) when it comes to college degrees or higher education.

However, in spite of a big percent of Filipinos having bachelor’s degrees, they have a relatively low freshman admission rate at the University of California Los Angeles (at only 14 percent).

But looking at the bigger picture, more Filipinos are educated in high school and college, as compared to the county average.


According to the report, Caucasians still fare better than Asian Americans across multiple measures of income (Per Capita Income and Reported Poverty).

Across the entire population of LA County, 38 percent are low-income and 16 percent are poor.

On a Per Capita Income basis (the average annual income for a person), Caucasians are the still the wealthiest at $47,503. The Per Capita Income for Asian Americans is $28,953.

For the entire Asian American community, 27 percent are low-income and 11 percent are poor.

Per Capita Income of Filipinos is at $27,337 – a number that is only a shade higher than the $27,344 average across LA County.

However, despite this only slightly above average Per Capita Income, Filipinos have the least number of of poverty and low-income incidents across all ethnic groups.

Only 18 percent of Filipinos are living in low-income situations, while only 5 percent live below poverty.

(LA Weekend September 28 – October 1, 2013 Sec A pg.1)

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