Census Bureau's Data Center

Population Distribution

  • Estimated 10.2 million Asians and Pacific Islanders in the U. S., comprising 3.8 percent of the total population; expected to reach 34 million and comprise 9 percent of the nation's total population by 2050.

  • About 95% of the Asian and Pacific Islanders live in metropolitan areas.

  • 6 in 10 Asians and Pacific Islanders were foreign-born.

  • Hawaii (63 percent) and California (12 percent) are the two states with the greatest percentage of Asian Pacific Islanders.

  • Louisiana has an estimated Asian and Pacific Islander population of 54,000 and comprising 1.2% of the state's total population.


  • In 1997, 85 percent of the nation's Asians and Pacific Islanders age 25 and over had at least a high school diploma, while 42 percent had earned at least a bachelor's degree. The corresponding proportions for Whites were 83 percent and 25 percent.

  • Nearly one-seventh of the 32,000 doctorates awarded by US universities in 1995 were conferred on Asians and Pacific Islanders.

  • Roughly one-third of the doctorates awarded in engineering and one-quarter of those conferred in the physical sciences and mathematics (This does not include students with temporary visas)

    Income and Poverty

  • In 1996, Asians and Pacific Islanders had the highest median household income ($43,276) among all race and Hispanic origin groups in the U. S.

  • The poverty rate for Asians and Pacific Islanders in 1996 was 14.5 percent. The rate was lower for non-Hispanic Whites (8.6 percent) but higher for African Americans (28.4 percent) and Hispanics (29.4 percent).


  • In 1996, 35 percent of the nation's employed Asian and Pacific Islander men and 31 percent of women age 16 and over worked in managerial and professional specialty jobs (e.g., engineers, dentists, teachers, lawyers and reporters).


  • In 1996, there were 2.1 million Asian and Pacific Islander families in the United States, 8 in 10 of them married-couple families. Asian and Pacific Islander families are large: 22 percent had five or more persons, compared with 11 percent of non-Hispanic White families.


  • The number of businesses in the US owned by Asian and Pacific islanders increased 56% between 1987 and 1992, from 386,291 to 603,426. Receipt generated by these businesses increased 163% from $36.5 Billion to $96.0 billion. Persons of Chinese origin owned the most US firms in 1992 (153,096), followed by those of Korean origin (104,918) and those of Asian Indian origin (93,340).

    Languages Spoken

  • Between 1980 and 1995, the number of registrations in Japanese courses at US colleges and universities quadrupled, from 11,500 to 44,700, while the number in Chinese courses more than doubled, from 11,400 to 26,500. Consequently, Japanese is now the fourth most popular foreign language course in US colleges; Chinese is sixth.

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