June 26, 2014

U.S. Hispanic and Asian populations growing, but for different reasons

The distinction of being the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the United States has alternated between Asians and Hispanics in recent decades. Since 2010, though, Asians have had the edge. New Census Bureau data estimate that the U.S. Hispanic population topped 54 million as of July 1, 2013, an increase of 2.1% over 2012. Meanwhile, the Asian population grew to 19.4 million, with a growth rate of 2.9%.

Hispanic population growth fueled mainly by Y.S. births; Asians by MigrationU.S. births have been the primary driving force behind the increase in the Hispanic population since 2000 and that trend continued between 2012 and 2013. The Census Bureau estimates that natural increase (births minus deaths) accounted for 78% of the total change in the U.S. Hispanic population from 2012 to 2013.

By comparison, growth in the Asian American population has been fueled primarily by immigration. Fully 74% of Asian adults in 2012 were foreign born according to Pew Research Center analysis of Census data, and international migration accounted for about 61% of the total change in the Asian American population from 2012 to 2013. (Asian American figures represent the population who reported their race alone or in combination with one or more races, and includes Hispanics. Hispanics are of any race.)

The different sources of population change are reflected in the demographic profiles of Asians and Hispanics. For example, the median age of Asians is 36.3, reflecting its larger share foreign born, compared with Hispanics at 28.1, reflecting the importance of U.S. births to populations growth.

Geographically, Asians and Hispanics are situated similarly across the country with majorities of each population concentrated in the west. For Hispanics, New Mexico still has the highest Hispanic population share at 47% while California has the largest overall Hispanic population (14.7 million). Texas, the second largest state by Hispanic population, saw the largest numeric increase in Hispanic population from 2012 to 2013, as it grew by 213,000 people. The Hispanic population increased the fastest in North Dakota—17% over 2012 to about 21,000 in 2013. (North Dakota boasted the highest population growth rates for every major racial and ethnic group except Native Americans and Alaskan Natives.)

California also has the largest Asian population (6.1 million) and Hawaii has the largest Asian population share (56%, the only state in which Asians are a majority). California was also home to the largest numeric increase between 2012 and 2013, with a net increase of 142,000 Asians. Just as with Hispanics, North Dakota saw the highest rate of Asian population increase between 2012 and 2013—up 8.4%.

Topics: Demographics, Immigration Trends, Race and Ethnicity, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latino Demographics

  1. Photo of Anna Brown

    is a research analyst focusing on social and demographic trends at Pew Research Center.


  1. Amazing Prussia2 years ago

    how nice…

  2. tartzee2 years ago

    Sure they will replace English speakers for less pay in the professional fields b1 visas anyone. Milton Jenkins said: ” A very disproportionate number of our physicians, scientists, engineers, are Asians”. Well that is good but who will feed this professionals if their is no one to pick or grow their food? I bet this engineers, physicians, scientists don’t know any survival skills or how to grow food on their own.

  3. T. Brown2 years ago

    Mr. Jenkins and Jon I Highly Agree. Like Smokey Robinson sung back in the day I Second That Emotion. Let The Truth Be Told…..

  4. Milton Jenkins2 years ago

    The (new) high level of “Asian” immigration should be considered a great opportunity for the U.S. to gain immigrants with a high educational attainment and good job skills. Unlike Hispanics, who are frequently able to enter illegally by simply slipping through the border, Asians must still get in the old-fashioned way, by formally applying for immigration. This means we can be more choosy about who we let in. And let’s be honest, so far Asians have been a great deal for America. A very disproportionate number of our physicians, scientists, engineers, and other professionals, and successful business people have come from Asia, while at the same time Asians have an extraordinarily low crime rate. We need more immigrants like this.

    1. Jon2 years ago

      I agree with this. I haven’t seen many Indian gangs lately!

    2. CesarChino2 years ago

      In response to Milton: immigration in general is a good thing for the USA but it must be for the right reasons. The current immigration policy cripples the middle class and benefits the elite business class by flooding the market with individuals willing to work for less. We must not outsource our local talent (engineers,doctors,science professionals) to University Milled students whom only debt is so small there able to immigrate to the states. As for those citizens whom bought into the student loan scheme there strapped with 100K plus loans not allowing them to take a lower salary. Now as for the porous border most of that immigration is due to the unique market in the USA which salaries for manual labor are below a native of this land will work for.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      Also Asians are not a burden on our Welfare system. They are hard workers, extremely intelligent, mind their own business, earn their own way, place a very high value on education, the arts, health, and fitness, expect only the best of behaviors, performance, and grades from their children, and they keep their families intact. They are not violent, are very controlled and in charge of themselves, and bother no one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Asian foster child or Asian welfare mom. Asians are excellent roll models for others to immolate.

  5. Bruce Gordon3 years ago

    I am very pleased with the data provided by the Pew Research Center on this and other articles, and I use them in presentations to my local community in Kentucky.

  6. John Stahl3 years ago

    While we applaud the voluminous research that Pew conducts and are grateful for it, the one very important sticking point is the continued use of egregiously false numbers of illegal aliens. If our figures are correct, then the whole premise of the argument made here would fall. That is, if there are really about 80 to 90 million Hispanics here, those numbers would dwarf Asians.
    Furthermore, we think that Indian-Asian populations are sufficiently diverse from other Asian populations in economic, political, cultural and religious terms that they should be classed separately from others.
    Thus, the article should be talking about the impact of so many Hispanics on the nation.
    As for our numbers. We have reason to believe, that we can demonstrate, the number of illegal aliens here is between 35 and 50 million. We understand that the government has a vested interest in corrupt numbers. We understand that using anything other than the Census numbers is messy.
    We understand that ignoring facts which point in other directions is intellectually dishonest.

    1. Jon2 years ago

      It really is absurd to group Indians together with other Asians. The continent is too diverse. You lay out the differences very well.