While Latinos are poised to become California's largest ethnic group within a few months, the state's Asian-Pacific Islander community has been growing even faster, according to a new report charting the community's status.
The state's 5.6 million Asians and nearly 300,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders easily make up the largest such concentration in the nation. Despite widespread belief that they are very prosperous, the group is actually the report's title, "A Community of Contrasts," with some nationalities doing very well economically and others among the state's poorest residents.
The report, produced by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the Asian Law Caucus, breaks down the overall community into 23 specific Asian and 19 Hawaiian-Pacific Islander subgroups.
It declares, for instance, that while Taiwanese, Fijian, Malaysian, Japanese, Filipino and Indian Californians have levels of poverty below those of white Californians, those of other subgroups are higher, topped by 34 percent poverty among Hmong, more than twice the state's overall rate.
Income levels show a similarly wide spread in the report, with Hmong having per capita incomes of under $10,000 a year, less than a quarter of whites and the upper-income Asian communities, such as Indians, Malaysians and Taiwanese. The report also declares that Asians were hit particularly hard by the recent recession, both in terms of unemployment and housing foreclosures.
PHOTO CREDIT: Lincy Han of the Golden Turtle Lion Dance Association of UC Davis, prepares for the opening ceremony of the Pacific Rim Street Fest on May 20, 2012. José Luis Villegas / Sacramento Bee file, 2012