Asian Americans are now the nation’s fastest-growing racial group, overtaking Latinos in recent years as the largest stream of new immigrants arriving annually in the United States.
In an economy that increasingly depends on highly skilled workers, Asian Americans are also the country’s best educated and highest-income racial or ethnic group, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.
In fact, U.S. Asians, who trace their roots to dozens of countries in the Far East, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, are arguably the most highly educated immigrant group in U.S. history, the study shows. And although there are significant differences among them by country of origin, on the whole they have found remarkable success in their new land.
For U.S. Asians, especially those who arrived in recent years, the first generation itself is doing well, outpacing Americans as a whole when it comes to education, household income and family wealth, according to the report released Tuesday.
Asian Americans also tend to be more satisfied than most Americans with their own lives, the survey found, and they hold more traditional views than the general public on the value of marriage, parenthood and hard work.
As a whole, Asian Americans are more likely than the general public to prefer a big government that provides more services. They also lean Democratic and a majority approves of President Obama’s job performance.
Asian Americans now make up nearly 6%, or 18.2 million, of the U.S. population, the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show. Nearly three-quarters were born abroad, and about 8 million came to this country in the last 30 years.
Asian immigration has grown rapidly in recent years, with nearly 3 million arriving since 2000. At the same time, Latino immigration, especially from Mexico, has slowed sharply, mainly because of the weakened U.S. economy and tougher border enforcement.
As a result, the number of newly arrived Asian immigrants has outpaced Latinos each year since 2009, according to Pew’s analysis of census data. In 2010, for instance, 36% of new U.S. immigrants were Asian, compared with 31% who were Latino.