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Asian immigration rising in California, report says

January 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
California's immigration demographics are changing, according to a new report based on census figures.

The number of Asian immigrants has surpassed the number of Latinos immigrating to California. These are the new faces of California according to census numbers. According to the Public Policy Institute, Asians tend to be more employable in the new economy.

Doreena Wong of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific American Legal Center says a lot of Asian immigrants are highly-educated, which she says correlates to their economic success.

"There are a lot of students from overseas countries in Asia and then they come here and get jobs," Wong said.

Chinese Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nicki Ung says Asian Americans stand out for their strong emphasis on education.

"We're very competitive and we strive for the best," Ung said. "It comes from our family background and how we were raised."

The census data show a sharp shift over ten years in immigration patterns to California.

In 2001, 42 percent of immigrants came from Latin America, 37 percent from Asia.

Ten years later, 57 percent of all immigrants to California came from Asia, 22 percent from Latin America.

In Little Tokyo, Japanese-American businessman Roy Kuroyangi operates a stand selling t-shirts with the logo Japangeles on them. The area attracts thousands of people from all ethnic backgrounds.

"A lot of foreigners, Chinese, Koreans,Japanese, they all come to Little Tokyo and just shop," Kuroyangi said.

And they also go to Chinatown, downtown Los Angeles and surrounding areas; it means money and employees for the local economy. Asian immigrants are the fastest growing racial population in California, according to the Asian Pacific Legal Center.

"We get a lot more delegation visits, people who are looking to do business here in the states and for opportunities in Los Angeles," Ung said. "And we have a lot more of the Chinese nationals looking to invest in Los Angeles."

The shift from Latino immigration to Asian immigration has been dramatic in the last ten years. There are many factors for the shift. But immigration demographers believe buying power and education are leading the list.


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