Asians have replaced Hispanics as the largest demographic group emigrating to the United States, reversing a longtime trend.
In a new report, the Pew Research Center found that the percentage of new immigrants of Latino origin has steadily declined over the last decade as the share of Asians has gradually risen. That has pushed the total number of Asian-Americans to a record 18.2 million in 2011, or 5.8 percent of the population.
And despite the fact that nearly three quarters of Asian-American adults were born abroad, the report found that Asians in America are strikingly successful and well-assimilated. Recent arrivals between the ages of 25 and 64 were twice as likely to have a bachelor's degree as recent immigrants from other regions. The median household income of Asian-Americans is greater than the average U.S. household, $66,000 to $49,800. Asian women were the most likely to marry across ethnic lines, with some 37 percent marrying non-Asians.
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The vast majority, at least 83 percent, of Asian-Americans hail from one of six countries: China, India, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines. The majority of Japanese-Americans were born in the United States, while immigrants from the five other countries were more likely to have been born abroad.
The survey also found that Asian-Americans stressed strong families and hard work. They were more likely than the general public to believe anyone in the United States can get ahead through hard work, and strong majorities of Asian-Americans rated the United States higher than their countries of origin in categories like freedom of expression and economic opportunity.
"We still have a dominant image either in media portrayals or in public opinion" that equates immigrants with Latinos, Karthick Ramakrishnan, an associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside, said in a panel discussion. "One of the important things in this report is to see immigration is more complicated than that."
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