LOS ANGELES – According to a new report released today by Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, Los Angeles County’s large Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities continued to grow dramatically over the past decade, fueling even greater diversity in a county whose overall population growth has slowed to a near standstill.
Already the largest in the country, L.A. County’s Asian American population remained its fastest growing, increasing at a rate (20 percent), nearly twice that of its Latino population (11 percent), between 2000 and 2010; its NHPI population, the largest in the continental United States, grew at a rate (9 percent) approaching that of Latinos over the same period. By comparison, the county’s total population grew only 3 percent over the decade. These trends have important implications for public policy.
“Our communities are growing and making real contributions to Los Angeles’ economy, but many also need help,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Advancing Justice - Los Angeles. “This growth deepens the urgency of our public policy concerns.”
According to data included in the report from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), there are nearly 930,000 Asian American and 7,700 NHPI immigrants in Los Angeles County; data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security show more than 310,000 Asian American and 1,300 NHPI immigrants countywide obtained legal permanent resident status between 2000 and 2010. The report estimates that roughly 130,000 Asian Americans in Los Angeles County are undocumented.
“Promoting access to services is critical, particularly among those who are limited-English proficient or struggling in this tough economy,” said Betty Hung, policy director at Advancing Justice - Los Angeles. “Many in our communities are undocumented, so these services need to be accessible to everyone regardless of immigration status.”
The number of NHPI and Asian Americans in Los Angeles County who are unemployed and living below the poverty line also continues to grow. ACS data show that the number of unemployed NHPI and Asian Americans grew 111 percent and 89 percent, respectively, between 2007 and 2011; they also reveal corresponding increases in the number of NHPI and Asian Americans who are poor. Among ethnic groups, over half of Tongan Americans and a quarter of Cambodian Americans countywide live below the poverty line.
“Contrary to this myth of Asian Americans and NHPI as the model minority, the data we compiled in this report show tremendous social and economic diversity in our communities here in Los Angeles,” said Kristin Sakaguchi, a research analyst at Advancing Justice - Los Angeles and the primary author of the report. “Some have achieved success, but others are facing considerable challenges.”
The full report can be found online at www.advancingjustice-la.org.
The report’s launch event was co-sponsored by APAIT Health Center, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP), Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council (A3PCON), Asian Youth Center (AYC), California State Assemblymember Ed Chau, Cambodian Association of America (CAA), Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF), Chinatown Service Center (CSC), Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC), Guam Communications Network (GCN), Khmer Girls in Action (KGA), Korean Resource Center (KRC), Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC), Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), Nakatomi & Associates, Office of Samoan Affairs (OSA), Pacific Islander Health Partnership (PIHP), Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA), South Asian Network (SAN), Thai Community Development Center (Thai CDC), Tongan Community Service Center–SSG (TCSC), and United Cambodian Community (UCC).
A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County was made possible by the generous support of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, Cyrus Chung Ying Tang Foundation, and Bank of America.