Report: NYC's Asian Population Grows, Spreads Out

The Asian population has spread out from traditional enclaves like Chinatown

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    New York's Chinatown

    New York City's Asian population is growing in both size and complexity, according to a report being released Friday, spreading out from traditional strongholds like Chinatown into neighborhoods all over the five boroughs and including ethnicities that weren't even big enough to be counted merely 10 years ago.

    The Asian American Federation, a civic and advocacy group, analyzed data from the 2010 and 2000 U.S. census as well as the 2006-2010 American Community Survey.

    "All these changes have implications for the local hospitals, the local schools," said Cao O, executive direction of the federation. It's "whether the local institutions are adequately prepared."

    The foundation's report found that the city's population of people identifying themselves as Asian, either monoracially or mixed, had gone up to 1.135 million, up more than 262,000, between 2000 and 2010, a 30 percent increase and the biggest percentage increase among the city's racial and ethnic groups.

    Neighborhoods with concentrated Asian populations could be found all over the city, both in neighborhoods like Flushing in Queens, which has had a strong Asian presence for years, as well as newer neighborhoods like Sunset Park in Brooklyn.

    "These different enclaves are starting to emerge," said Howard Shih, census programs director for the federation.

    One traditional enclave, Chinatown, actually saw its Asian population decline by 15.2 percent, the report found, although nearby areas saw an increase.

    In the diverse borough of Queens, the report found, census data showed more Asian residents than black residents, and fewer than non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics. Shih said if growth rates continue at their current rates for all groups, Asians are likely to become the largest ethnic group in the borough sometime in the next decade.

    The ethnic groups that make up the bulk of the community — including Chinese, Indian, Korean, Filipino — all continued to grow, as did ethnic groups that number under 10,000 people — like Thai, Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Cambodian. The census was even able to count small communities of Hmong, at 83 people. It also noted Bhutanese, at 388, who largely weren't even in the United States to be counted in the 2000 census, according to the report.

    That increasing range of ethnicities is "shifting the definition of what it means to be Asian American," Shih said.

    The report also touches on other areas, looking at issues of language access and poverty in certain segments of the community, as well as civic engagement and businesses.

    "We hope to see there be more attention paid," O said, "to look at pockets of need in the community that have not been addressed."