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Emerging Ethnic Groups Contribute to Growth in Philadelphia’s Asian Community According to New 2010 Census Data

According to newly release 2010 Census figures, Asian ethnic groups other than the traditional six major groups contributed over a quarter of the total growth in Philadelphia’s Asian population. The Asian community in Philadelphia grew 42 percent, comparable to the 46 percent growth of the Hispanic population in Philadelphia.

The Asian population increased by 28,751 in Philadelphia since Census 2000. Only the Hispanic population contributed more to Philadelphia’s growth, adding 58,683 to their community. Without either group, the population of Philadelphia would have shrunk over the last decade. Asians went from 4 percent of Philadelphia’s total population in 2000 to 6 percent in 2010.

Growth in the Asian population across ethnicities was uneven. The Japanese and Korean communities in Philadelphia shrank by 15 and 5 percent respectively. The Korean population dropped to 6,217 and the Japanese population reached 1,034 in 2010. With the release of Asian ethnicity data for New Jersey next week, we will be able to quantify the shift to the suburbs for those two groups. The other major Asian groups grew at a rapid pace. The Chinese community grew the fastest (69 percent) and remains the largest in Philadelphia with 20,069 residents. The Other Asian category grew the next fastest at 55 percent to a total of 21,156 residents in 2010. The Other Asian category includes Cambodians, Burmese, and Nepalese. Population counts for those communities will be forthcoming later this summer. Indians grew the third fastest at 44 percent to a total of 18,520 residents. Vietnamese and Filipinos both grew 24 percent between 2000 and 2010. There were 12,431 Vietnamese and 4,978 Filipinos living in Philadelphia in 2010.

Across neighborhoods (using the Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s Planning Analysis Sections (PAS) as a basis for analysis), Center City and South Philadelphia remained the areas with the highest concentration of Asians at 13 percent of the total population. The areas with the fastest growth in Asians were Near Northeast Philadelphia and Lower North Philadelphia, where the Asian population doubled in size. Asians in Center City and South Philadelphia, as well as Far Northeast Philadelphia, grew around 50 percent .

Only in the Olney/Oak Lane PAS did the Asian population decline by 10 percent. Southwest Philadelphia and Upper North Philadelphia saw modest increases in the Asian population, 5 and 2 percent respectively.

The data released on Thursday represents the first look at population changes in six Asian ethnic groups. Over the next twelve months the Census Bureau will be releasing more detailed data on Asian American communities, including the first ever published counts of Bhutanese, Burmese and Nepalese Americans this summer.

Check our Facebook page ( Federation/270239583394) and our website ( Federation/270239583394) for further announcements and new data products from the Asian American Federation's Census Information Center.