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Profile: Asian Americans

Asian American Profile

For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in Massachusetts, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in New Jersey, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in New York, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in Virginia, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in Florida, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in Illinois, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in Texas, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in Hawaii, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in Hawaii, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in Hawaii, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in Hawaii, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in California, click here. For additional data and statistics on Asian Americans in Washington State, click here.

(Map of the US with the top 10 states displaying the
largest Asian American population according to the Census Bureau)

CA - NY - HI - TX - IL - WA - FL - VA - MA

Overview (Demographics): This racial group is defined as people having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. According to the 2015 Census Bureau population estimate, there are 17.3 million Asian Americans, alone, living in the United States. Asian Americans account for 5.4 percent of the nation's population. In 2015, the following states had the largest Asian-American populations: California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois and Washington.

Language Fluency: The percentage of persons 5 years or older who "do not speak English very well" varies among Asian American groups: 51 percent of Vietnamese, 46 percent of Chinese, 23 percent of Filipinos and 21 percent of Asian Indians are not fluent in English. In 2015, 75.5 percent of Asian American spoke a language other than English at home.

Educational Attainment: According to the 2015 U.S. Census data, roughly 86.5 percent of both all Asians and all people in the United States 25 and older had at least a high school diploma. However, 52.3 percent of Asian Americans in comparison to 34.2 percent of the total non-Hispanic white population had earned at least a bachelor's degree. Among Asian subgroups, Taiwanese had the highest percentage of bachelor's degree attainment at 77 percent. In regards to employment, about 51 percent of Asian Americans were employed in management, professional and related occupations, compared with 42 percent of the white population. In addition, the proportions employed in high-skilled and managerial sectors varied from 24.3 percent for Cambodians to 73.2 percent for Taiwanese.

Economics: According to 2015 Census data, the median household income of Asian Americans is $77,368, as compared to $61,394 for non-Hispanic whites. Yet 12 percent of Asian Americans as compared to 10.4 percent of non-Hispanic whites, live at the poverty level. Economic status varies widely among Asian populations in the United States, with the poverty rate for Filipinos at 6.5 percent, as compared to 24.2 percent for the Hmong in 2015.

Insurance Coverage: In 2015, insurance coverage among Asian American subgroups varied. Private insurance coverage rates: 56 percent for Cambodian, 78 percent for Filipino, 72 percent for Chinese, 55 percent for Hmong. Public insurance coverage rates: 32 percent for Vietnamese, 25 percent for Filipino, 27 percent for Chinese, 43 percent for Hmong, and 26 percent for all Asian groups. Asian subgroups also varied within uninsured status: 12 percent for Thai, 9 percent for Vietnamese, 8 percent for Hmong.

In 2015, the overall private insurance coverage for Asian Americans was 68.8 percent, as compared to 75.8 percent for the non-Hispanic white population. 7.8 percent of Asian Americans were uninsured, as compared to 6.3 percent non-Hispanic white Americans.

Health: It is significant to note that Asian American women have the highest life expectancy (85.8 years) of any other ethnic group in the U.S. Life expectancy varies among Asian subgroups: Filipino (81.5 years), Japanese (84.5 years), and Chinese women (86.1 years)1. However, Asian Americans contend with numerous factors which may threaten their health. Some negative factors are infrequent medical visits due to the fear of deportation, language/cultural barriers, and the lack of health insurance. Asian Americans are most at risk for the following health conditions: cancer, heart disease, stroke, unintentional injuries (accidents), and diabetes. Asian Americans also have a high prevalence of the following conditions and risk factors: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, smoking, tuberculosis, and liver disease.

Other Health Concerns: In 2015, tuberculosis was 30 times more common among Asians, with a case rate of 18.2 as compared to 0.6 for the non-Hispanic white population.

Full Census Reports:

The Asian Population: 2010 [PDF | 6.4MB]

Language Use in the United States: 2011 [PDF | 1.4MB]

Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015 [PDF | 1.6MB]

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015 [PDF | 3.1MB]

Census Bureau, 2016. 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates for Asian Americans

Last Modified: 6/1/2018 5:09:00 PM