Biggest Wave of Immigrants is Now Asian

Asian Americans are the best-educated, highest-income, fastest growing race group in the country.

By Jorge Rivas Jun 19, 2012

Asians recently passed Latinos as the largest group of new immigrants to the United States. "Asians have become the largest stream of new immigrants to the U.S. — and, thus, the latest leading actors in this great American drama" of immigration, Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center, wrote in the report. The report calls the educational credentials of Asian immigrants "striking." More than six-in-ten (61%) adults ages 25 to 64 who have come from Asia in recent years have at least a bachelor’s degree. This is double the share among recent non-Asian arrivals. Recent Asian immigrants are also about three times as likely as recent immigrants from other parts of the world to receive their green cards–or permanent resident status–on the basis of employer rather than family sponsorship (though family reunification remains the most common legal gateway to the U.S. for Asian immigrants, as it is for all immigrants). It’s important to note the basic demographics of these groups are different on many measures. For example, Indian Americans lead all other groups by a significant margin in their levels of income and education. Seven-in-ten Indian-American adults ages 25 and older have a college degree, compared with about half of Americans of Korean, Chinese, Filipino and Japanese ancestry, and about a quarter of Vietnamese Americans. On the other side of the socio-economic ledger, Americans with Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and "other U.S. Asian" origins have a higher poverty rate than does the U.S. general public, while those with Indian, Japanese and Filipino origins have lower rates. Immigration scholars have attributed the decrease in Latino immigration to a variety of factors including increased deportation and border enforcement and the economic downturn in the U.S.