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The Growth and Spatial Assimilation of the Asian American Population, 1860-2018

DOI: 10.4236/sm.2022.123007, PP. 108-119

Keywords: Asian Americans, Population, Population Growth, Spatial Assimilation

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Abstract:

The research objective of this study is to document the growth and spatial distribution of the Asian American population from its initial inception in 1860 through the contemporary period. Because prior research on the Asian American population has been rather limited, we assemble data and statistics from various U.S. Censuses to document the long-term growth of the Asian American population. We also use descriptive statistics to analyze the distribution of the Asian American population across the four major U.S. Census regions as well as across the 50 U.S. states. The results show that this racial category has increased substantially both in absolute number as well as a percentage of the total American population. Most of this population growth occurred, however, after 1965. Accompanying this population growth is substantial spatial assimilation. The regional index of dissimilarity declined from 0.98 in 1860 to 0.24 in 2018. No longer located primarily in particular locales in the Pacific, our analysis reveals that the Asian American population now has significant presence in all of the U.S. states. Asian Americans have changed from being an isolated and tiny portion of the American population to a highly visible and widely recognized minority group. Ignoring Asian Americans in contemporary discussions of “race in America” is a lingering but outdated practice.

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