With constant talk of immigration, the Latino vote, and the U.S.-Mexico border in the news almost constantly, when asked what the fast growing racial group in the U.S. is, one might assume it’s Latinos/Hispanics. However, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center Asians actually nab that title .
According to the report, Asians recently passed Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants to the United States. The educational credentials of these recent arrivals are 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, and almost surely makes the recent Asian arrivals the most highly educated cohort of immigrants in U.S. history.
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).
The modern immigration wave from Asia is nearly a half century old and has pushed the total population of Asian Americans—foreign born and U.S born, adults and children—to a record 18.2 million in 2011, or 5.8 percent of the total U.S. population, up from less than 1 percent in 1965. By comparison, non-Hispanic whites are 197.5 million and 63.3 percent Hispanics 52.0 million and 16.7 percent and non-Hispanic blacks 38.3 million and 12.3 percent.
While Asian immigration has increased quickly in recent years, Hispanic/Latino immigration, especially that from Mexico, has slowed dramatically. In 2010, 31 percent of U.S. immigrants were Hispanic/Latino while 36 percent were Asian.