November 13, 2013

More than 3.4M Americans trace their ancestry to the Philippines

Where Filipino Americans live, according to 2010 Census data.

As military and humanitarian aid struggles to make its way to the areas hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan, the Filipino American community is organizing relief supplies and efforts to contact loved ones back home.

The Philippines was an American possession until 1946, and the two nations retain close economic, cultural and personal ties. Filipinos are the nation’s second-largest Asian-American group — more than 3.4 million (including 2.3 million adults) trace their ancestry there, according to the 2010 Census. Last year, Filipinos in the U.S. sent $10.6 billion back home; those payments accounted for 43% of all remittances received by the Philippines, according to World Bank data. (The Pew Research Center will be releasing a new report on Latin American remittances later this week and a new report on global remittances later this year.)

Here’s a data portrait of the Filipino-American community, drawn from the Pew Research Center’s 2012 report on Asian Americans:

  • Filipino Americans are heavily concentrated in the West. Nearly a quarter of the entire Filipino-American population (24.1%, or more than 825,000 people) live in 10 Southern California counties. Almost 458,000, (13.4% of the total) live in the San Francisco Bay area, and 10% (about 342,000) live in Hawaii, where they make up a quarter of the state’s population. Other metro areas with significant numbers of Filipinos: Las Vegas, Chicago, Sacramento and Seattle.
  • More than two-thirds (69.1%) of Filipino-American adults were born overseas. However, three-quarters (77.4%) are now U.S. citizens.
  • filipino_education2Nearly half (47%) of Filipino Americans ages 25 or older have earned at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 28.2% of all Americans in that age group.
  • Median annual personal earnings for full-time, year-round workers was $43,000 among Filipinos, versus $40,000 for the overall population. Only 6.2% of Filipino-American adults were in poverty, compared with 12.8% of all U.S. adults.
  • filipino_income3The median annual income for households headed by a Filipino-American adult was $75,000, well above the average for all Asian Americans and the U.S. population at large. But Filipino Americans also have larger households on average: 3.4 persons, compared with 3.1 for all U.S. Asians and 2.6 for the overall U.S. population.
  • Filipinos are the second-most likely Asian-American group (behind Japanese Americans) to describe themselves as “typical Americans” — 49% do so.

Topics: Asian Americans

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.


  1. Bob4 years ago

    Above and beyond this crisis, and crises past and in the future, the Philippines suffer a geographic fact — they are particularly primed to be struck by forces of nature due to their physical location on this planet. Maybe Bangladesh and Haiti suffer similar quirks due to their physical location, too. They are collectively “innocent” in so being.

    Another common thread of these physical locations is that as much of a paradise that they might be outside weather catastrophes, are that they can be described as very much heavily overpopulated with a great deal of people simply struggling to survive day to day. Consequently, economic realities overwhelm the people. When it comes to the characteristics of these people, they are some of the most caring people anyone could fortunately hope to meet in one’s lifetime. I wish them well and hope their government will attempt to be better prepared for future circumstances when crises strike, as surely they will in coming times. Reports from these disasters always accuse the Philippine government of slowly responding to the needs of the people even though the inevitability of disasters is climatologically guaranteed.

  2. VIVIAN4 years ago

    To The Pew Research Center:

    Please conduct a more thorough research on the matter of generosity of Americans towards the Philippines. My husband and I (both Americans) have donated heavily to the cause. We’re not billionaires but we sure as hell donated via Hewlett-Packard’s matching program which was very generous. The community center here in Chicago were we donated canned goods was overwhelmed with generosity that Gov. Quinn had to make special arrangements with carriers here at O’Hare for many trucks were being shipped out for the relief effort. Also, my husband and I would have preferred it if the PEW Research Center just simply stepped forward with help for the suffering in the Philippines instead of releasing a report that basically says the Philippines is an unattractive magnet for people’s generosity. Instead of rallying American generosity for the cause, Pew Research Center would rather come out with unflattering data about the effort. Are you proud of this?

  3. Thomas R4 years ago

    You mixed up the decimal place. 3.4 out of 310 is 1.1%, not ten percent.

    Also I live in the rural Midwest and probably knew Filipinos before other Asians. There might be a concentration in the West, but New Jersey, Florida, Detroit, and Chicago look to be fairly high on that map. Although an additional factor might be that Filipinos being more likely to think of themselves as “typical Americans” could make them more integrated. And they came out as the most Christian of Asian sub-groups, specifically Catholic, and I am Christian specifically Catholic. (Which might relate as Catholic charities are often active in disasters)

  4. Art4 years ago

    Now I know why Filipinos comprise a large percentage of the American population. In history, the Philippines had been colonized by Spain and later was involved with the US. I haven’t studied on this but I guess there was some insurgency or conflict and ever since, the US had some relations with them. That aside, if 3.4 million trace their ancestry to the Philippines then that’s pretty large considering that’s 10% of the US’s 314 million. Anyways we hope that some relief funds can be used to help them after Typhoon Haiyan. Though global warming will still be the sticky issue as warmer waters can create more and powerful storms.

    1. atmospheric science4 years ago

      Art is an expert on “global warming”?

      I prefer Dr. Lindzer from MIT.

      Check him our. He has scientifically studied the atmosphere for years.
      No All Gore is he.

      1. Art4 years ago

        I did not said I was an expert but due to the IPCC climate scientists hampering about, it is thought that global warming was an issue. I checked that guy out on an article and since I’m not a scientist the warming could be small like what Dr. Linzen said. But to what extent, who knows?

    2. Bart3 years ago

      3.4 million is 1.08% of 314 million, not 10%.