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Asian immigrants now fastest-growing group in US, surpass Hispanics, study says

June 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Asian immigrants are now the fastest-growing group in the United States, overtaking the number of Hispanics, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

The study says 430,000 Asian immigrants arrived in the U.S. in 2010, which made up 36 percent of new immigrants. That same year, 370,000 Hispanic immigrants came into the U.S., which made up 31 percent.

It found new immigrants are mainly from India, China and South Korea and visas are being granted to specialized workers and wealthy investors as the U.S. economy becomes driven less by manufacturing and more by technology.

The study says the tipping point likely occurred during 2009 as illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico sharply declined due to increased enforcement and a dwindling supply of low-wage work in the weak U.S. economy.

Many Mexicans already in the U.S. have also been heading back to their country, putting recent net migration at a standstill.

Also, 6 in 10 international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities are now most likely to come from Asian countries. Both foreign-born and U.S.-born Asian students earned 45 percent of all engineering Ph.D.s in 2010, as well as 38 percent of doctorates in math and computer sciences, and 33 percent of doctorates in the physical sciences.

According to the study, both Asians and Hispanics lean democratic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.