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Asians Now Largest Group of New US Immigrants


Dancers at the National Asian Heritage Festival in Washington in May, with the Capitol in the background

Dancers at the National Asian Heritage Festival in Washington in May, with the Capitol in the background

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A new study says Asians are now the largest group of new immigrants arriving in the United States each year. It also says recent Asian arrivals are "almost surely" the most highly educated group of immigrants in United States history. The Pew Research Center released the report on Tuesday.

STEVE EMBER: The report is called "The Rise of Asian Americans." Researchers found that Asians living in the United States are more likely than the general public to be satisfied with their lives and finances. They are also more likely to believe that the country is moving in the right direction.

Pew researcher Cary Funk says there are many reasons why Asians move to the United States, not just for employment and education.

CARY FUNK: "One of the most common reasons for immigration is for family reunification but it's usually a mix of employment, education and family reasons."

The report calls Asian Americans the "highest-income, best-educated and fastest growing racial group in the United States." Asian Americans increased from less than one percent of the population in nineteen sixty-five to five point eight percent today, says Cary Funk.

CARY FUNK: "Part of that rise has to do with the change in our immigration policies in nineteen sixty-five. That opened the immigration stream from all parts of the world. Seventy-four percent of Asian American adults are foreign born. Japanese Americans are majority U.S. born. "

Immigrants are coming to the United States from many countries across Asia and the subcontinent. About four hundred thirty thousand Asians arrived in the U.S. in twenty-ten. They represented thirty-six percent of all new immigrants that year. That compared with about thirty-one percent from Spanish speaking countries.

The Pew researchers point out that Asian immigration to the United States has increased only slightly in recent years. However, Asians have become the new face of U.S. immigration because of a sharp decrease in immigrants from Central and South America.

The Pew report says fifteen percent of Asian immigrants are here illegally, lower than the rate among Hispanic immigrants. The researchers based their report on interviews with more than three thousand Asian Americans. They found that Asians in the United States place more value on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success than other Americans. I’m Steve Ember.

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