US States With The Largest Relative Asian American Populations

Hawaii has the largest relative population of Asian Americans, including those of Asian ancestry alone or in combination with other races.

According to the 2010 United States Census, the Asian population grew faster than any other racial or ethic group in the United States between 2000 and 2010. “Asian” refers to a person having familial origins stemming from any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. These include, but are not limited to, those having ancestors from Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, or Vietnam. The numbers presented herein are for percentages of each state's population that identify as Asian, whether alone or in combination with any other race or ethnicity. Most of these states are located in the Western or Pacific US.

10. Massachussetts (6.0%)

According to the 2010 census, the population of Massachusetts increased by 3.1% from 2000 to reach 6,547,629. Of this figure, the state's Asian American population comprised 6%, that is 394,211. The state's steady, but slow, growth rate was no match for the substantial population increases in the West and South regions, which garnered 84% of the country's population increases. This slow growth is likely due to the fact that, while Massachusetts continues to attract top intellectuals and researchers from across the US and a large numbers of immigrants, there is a concurrent steady emigration out of the state towards southern and western regions of the US because of high housing costs, weather, and traffic.

9. Maryland (6.4%)

Maryland's population grew in numbers and diversity from 2000 to 2010, as a shrinking white population was more than offset by large growths within the state's multiple minority communities. One of the prominent groups to grow in Maryland was Asian Americans. This group registered an increase of 55.2% in population, from 238,408 to 370,044 between the years of 2000 and 2010.

8. Virginia (6.5%)

Virginia’s Asian American population was the second fastest-growing minority group in the state, increasing by 71.5% in the ten years from 2000 to 2010. The geographic distribution of the Asian population, like that of Hispanics, is heavily clustered around the state's urban centers, including the counties of Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and Arlington and Alexandria City in Northern Virginia. The relatively fast population growth in Northern Virginia can be attributed to the strong economy over the first half of the decade, which attracted a growing workforce from both around the country and around the world. The changing racial and ethnic composition of the region’s population is part of a broader demographic trend that is occurring nationwide.

7. Alaska (7.1%)

The Asian population in Alaska registered a growth of 54.2% during the years between 2000 and 2010. This demographic nominally grew from 32,686 to 50,402. Two county equivalents in Alaska had concentrations of the Asian alone-or-in-combination population of 25% or more, these being the Aleutians East Borough and the Aleutians West Census Areas. In the 2010 census, Filipinos were the largest defined Asian group living in Alaska. The Filipinos' history in Alaska dates back to the late 1700s, when early Filipinos mainly served as crew aboard exploratory and fur trading vessels. In the mid-19th Century, Filipinos worked on whaling ships and, later, on the telecommunications cable-laying ships. In 1930, Alaskan Filipinos, who were also called "Alaskeros", made up 15% of the workers in Alaska's fisheries.

6. New York (8.2%)

From 2000 to 2010, New York state was home to the second largest absolute population of Asian Americans, behind only California, and the sixth largest relative population. Although most of the Asian American population resided in the New York City Metro area, the fastest population growth, and some of the newest communities, were observed in the cities and counties in the upstate region. The state was home to 1,579,494 Asian Americans in 2010, an increase of 35.1% from the 1,169,200 living there in the year 2000. All New York counties except for Wyoming and Seneca counties had increases in their Asian American populations. Two of the newest Asian groups to arrive in the state were Burmese and Bhutanese, growing rapidly through an influx of refugees. The majority of these newcomers have settled in cities outside of the New York City Metro area. Specifically, the 2010 Census showed growing Burmese populations in Buffalo, Utica, and Syracuse, and flourishing Bhutanese populations in Syracuse.

5. Washington (9.0%)

Among the 50 states, Washington has the fifth-highest percentage of Asian Americans. The state had 604,251 Asians in 2010, compared to 395,741 in the year 2000. This is an increase of 52.7%. Overall in the state, 9% of Wyomingite people have Asian ancestral roots.

4. Nevada (9.0%)

Asian American populations in Nevada grew from 112,456 to 242,916 between the year 2000 and the year 2010. That indicates a growth of 116%. This was the fastest growth in the Asian American population in any state in the US between the years 2000 and 2010. Nevada was followed by Arizona with 95%, North Carolina with 85%, North Dakota with 85%, and Georgia with 83% growth in their own respective Asian American populations. The Nevada state average was influenced by Asian American population concentrations in Clark and Washoe Counties. These counties had Asian alone or in combination as percent of total population figures of 10.7% and 6.6%, respectively. Asian Americans have had a significant population in Nevada since the California Gold Rush in the 1850s, which brought thousands of Chinese miners to Washoe County. These were followed by Japanese farm workers, then immigrants from China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, India, and Vietnam. Las Vegas now has one of the most prolific Asian American communities in the United States. The city has remained an attractive destination for immigrants from Latin America and South Asia alike, as they come seeking jobs in the hospitality and gaming industries, along with farming and construction opportunities.

3. New Jersey (9.0%)

The 2010 Census figures put the New Jersey state's Asian-American population at 795,163 out of a total population of 8,791,894. Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Asian Americans grew in the state by 51.6%. This growth has been fueled by a large number of overseas immigrants who have found a home in New Jersey, and are thereafter having children at a higher rate than the native population of New Jersey in general. Generally, New Jersey has always served as an immigration gateway. A hundred years ago, it served as such for European immigrants, while today it carries on the legacy for Asians and Latinos.

2. California (14.9%)

California occupies the second place in the country when it comes to being home to proportional Asian-American populations. It also has the largest absolute population of Asian Americans of any US state. There are 5,556,592 Asian Americans out of the state’s population of 37,253,956, as per the 2010 census. California's Asian-American population of about 5.6 million is nearly 1.5 million higher than it was in the 2000 Census, and more than three times as large as New York's, which was approximately 1.6 million. Numerically, New York City has the largest population of Asian-Americans of any major US urban area at 1.1 million, though the California cities of Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, and San Diego hold the next four places. Furthermore, Fremont is at 9th and Sacramento is at the 12th place in such figures. Although California's Asian-American residents (14.9% of its population) is surpassed only by Hawaii's 57.4%, the growth of the Californian Asian American population (of about 33.7%) between 2000 and 2010 was lower than in many other states. For example, Nevada’s increase during this period was 116%. This growth was also below the national growth rate of 45.6%. The slow but steady increase in the Asian population has an impact on the group’s political clout as well. In 2014, there were a dozen lawmakers of Asian and Pacific Islander background in the California Legislature, which was itself a record.

1. Hawaii (57.4%)

Most early Asian immigrants to the US settled in Hawaii. The majority of these early immigrants came to the islands as laborers to work on the region's pineapple, coconut, and sugarcane plantations. These early migrants have tended to stay, although some returned to their home countries. There has also been recent immigration to Hawaii from more ethnic Asian groups, including the Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese peoples. Until 2010, people of Japanese ancestry made up the majority of Hawaii's Asian American population. Filipinos, like most other East Asian immigrants to Hawaii, worked on the sugar plantations in some of the largest numbers. In 2010, Filipinos surpassed Japanese as the largest Asian ethnic group in Hawaii. At the time of the 2000 census, they were the third largest ethnic group in the islands. Today, Hawaii boasts of a whopping 780,968 Asian Americans, which amounts to about 57.4% of its total population.

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