AAPI Latino population has more than doubled since 2000: study


Despite being overlooked due to the U.S. Census’ lack of detailed categorization, the AAPI Latino population more than doubled from 2000 to 2022, according to a data brief from UCLA's Latino Policy and Politics Institute.

Key points:

  • According to the UCLA researchers, the AAPI Latino population has more than doubled from 350,000 in 2000 to 886,000 in 2022, underscoring the need to recognize the group as a distinct and growing category.

  • AAPI Latinos can be categorized into four groups: Asian immigrants from Latin America, U.S.-born individuals with AAPI and Latino parents, Filipinos with ambiguous ethnic identities due to Spanish colonial history, and descendants of Puerto Rican laborers and Native Hawaiians.

The details:

  • The AAPI Latino population can be traced back to the early 20th Century, and its growth is tied to immigration, historical labor shortages, such as Punjabi Mexican farmworkers in California, and multigenerational intermarriages, particularly between the Mexican and Filipino communities.

  • Historically, AAPI Latinos have had to choose one identity. When analyzing the Census Bureau data, UCLA researchers reportedly examined how individuals of Latino ethnicity responded to the race question, particularly if they indicated they were Asian. If they selected the Asian race, researchers categorized them as both AAPI and Latino.

  • According to the data brief, California (302,000), Texas (78,000) and Hawaii (77,000) have the highest concentrations of AAPI Latinos. The counties with the largest AAPI Latino population are Los Angeles County (65,000), Honolulu County (50,000) and San Diego County (30,000).

  • AAPI Latinos constitute a younger demographic compared to both the general Latino and non-Latino AAPI populations, with nearly half (46%) of them being children in 2022. Moreover, AAPI Latinos have a notably low percentage of noncitizens, with only 5% falling into this category, the lowest among all groups analyzed.

  • The population also shows higher educational attainment and homeownership rates than Latinos overall, but lower than those of all AAPIs. However, AAPI Latinos have the highest labor force participation rate at 69.1% compared to AAPI individuals (66%) and Latinos (67.8%).

Researchers’ conclusion:

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  • Despite this significant growth, AAPI Latinos are often overlooked compared to larger AAPI and Latino demographics due to challenges in data collection and reliance on monoracial categorization.

  • The study highlights the unique cultural blending and challenges of dual identity faced by the demographic, who often feel neither fully Latino nor fully Asian. Researchers emphasized the need for greater attention to the specific experiences and needs of AAPI Latinos.

  • “To effectively address the needs of AAPI Latinos, policymakers and service providers must recognize and understand their distinct experiences and characteristics,” the study reads. “This understanding is critical to tailor resources and support to improve the well-being and quality of life of AAPI Latinos in the United States.”

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