New census data from California shows that California's Asian population is on the rise

According to U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday, California's Asian population has grown by 25% over the past decade. This makes it the fastest-growing ethnic group in the most populous state in the country.

New census data from California shows that California's Asian population is on the rise

California's white population fell by 24% between 2010-2020, which confirms that California is among three states (New Mexico, Hawaii) where whites don't make up the largest minority group.

Hispanics surpassed whites as California's largest ethnic group in 2014. Census data shows that California's Hispanic population increased by 11% to 15.5million people. This is just shy of 40% of California's almost 40 million residents.

The biggest percentage increase in the last decade was made by the Asian population. California now boasts more than 6,000,000 people of Asian descent, more than any other state.

Ten years ago, California's 58 counties did not include Asians among their largest ethnic groups. Two of California's 58 counties now have Asians in their population: Alameda County which includes Berkeley and Oakland, and Santa Clara County that contains San Jose, the nation's 10th-most populous city and Silicon Valley's technology capital.

"I believe the national story focuses primarily upon the Hispanic population. But in California,... Noli Brazil, a University of California-Davis demographer, said that the Asian population is a key driver of the large increase in recent years.

The data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau will be the foundation for redrawing 429 U.S. House districts in 44 states. To win a majority at the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans must have five seats.

Data released earlier this year shows Democratic-heavy California will lose a Congressional seat for the first time in its history because its population grew at a slower rate compared to other states. California's redistricting process, unlike other states, will be less political than most because it is overseen by the Citizens Redistricting Commission, which is independent from the state Legislature.

California's Thursday data release was not surprising. Los Angeles County, home to more than 10,000,000 people, remains the most populous in the country. Eleven counties experienced population declines, most of which were in the region close to the Oregon border. This area has been devastated in recent years by wildfires.

Nine counties saw double-digit population growth. The leader was Trinity County, Northern California, with 16.9%. Riverside County, in Southern California, had the greatest increase in total population. It added more than 228,000 people.

California's growing Asian population has resulted in a greater political power for the state, as seen earlier this year with Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Rob Bonta as the state's first Filipino-American attorney general.

According to Alex Vassar (an unofficial legislative historian at California State Library), the state Legislature currently has 14 Asian Pacific Islanders. This number will increase to 15 when a special election is held in Alameda County to fill a vacancy in the state Assembly.

The rise in influence has coincided with a rise in hate crimes against Asians. In June, the California Attorney General's Office reported that there were 89 hate crimes against Asians in 2020. This is more than twice the number in 2019. Most of the events occurred in March and April 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic was raging in California.

California's new operating budget contains $156.5 million to respond to attacks on the Asian community. Most of the money goes to victim service organizations.

A total of $10 million will be used to improve data collection in order to better understand the challenges and needs of the diverse community. Robyn Rodriguez is a professor of Asian American Studies from the University of California Davis. She noted that California's Asian population has a variety of languages and cultures. This makes it necessary to collect better data in order to understand the unique characteristics of the community.

She said that "Asian Americans arrive in the United States in very different circumstances." Some are the result of war or displacement. Some are the result of immigration, people choosing to move here. These are complex issues that require more attention.

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