Fil-Ams are 2nd largest Asian group in US

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Filipino-Americans, numbering more than three million, are now the second largest Asian group in the United States next to Chinese Americans, a report by the Pew Research Center released Wednesday showed.

Filipinos comprise 19.7 percent  (3,416,840) of Asians living in the United States while the Chinese  accounted for 23.3 percent (4,010,114), according to the report.

The other large Asian groups, each estimated at more than a million, included Indians (18.4 percent), Vietnamese (10.0%), Koreans (9.9 percent) and Japanese (7.5 percent).

Pew used the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) of the US Census Bureau which estimated that 2.3 million adult Filipino-Americans lived in the US during that year.

Based on the 2010 ACS, the median age of an adult Filipino American  is 43. Their individual median annual earnings working full-time and year-round is $43,000;  while among Filipino American households the median annual income is $75,000.

The 2010 ACS also found that among adult Filipino-Americans, 69 percent are foreign born; 77 percent are US citizens; 62 percent own a home; 66 percent live in the West and six percent live in poverty; 56 percent of the adult Filipino Americans are married; 78 percent speak English proficiently and 47 percent of Filipinos ages 25 and older have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.

The Pew study said Filipino immigration to the US began after the Philippines became a colony of America in 1898.

The research agency, citing 2008 data, said that a large number of Filipinos went to Hawaii to work on sugar plantations there before coming to the US mainland.

“Filipinos were the only Asians who lived on American territory and were therefore exempted from the 1917 and 1924 laws that prohibited Asian immigration to the country,” Pew said.

However, severe limits were enforced on Filipino immigration in 1934 when the country was established as a commonwealth of the US, resulting in a decline of the Filipino population in the US in the following decade from 108,000 to 98,000, the report said.

After the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, many Filipinos came to the US again. Some came to escape the dictatorial regime of  Ferdinand Marcos and seek more opportunities for employment, Pew added.

The Pew report combined a detailed analysis of economic and demographic data from the US Census Bureau and other official sources and findings of a telephone survey of 3,511 Asian Americans last January 3 to March 27.

Results of the 2012 survey found that 61 percent of Filipino Americans still have close-knit families—which include spouse, parents, siblings or children—living  in their country of origin. About 67 percent said they had sent money to relatives in the Philippines in the past 12 months.

The poll also showed that most Filipino Americans  (64 percent) perceive that the strength of  family ties is better in the Philippines compared to the 11 percent who said that the strength of family ties is better in the US.

In terms of economic opportunities, majority of Filipino Americans (78 percent) said that the US offered better prospects than the Philippines.

When asked whether the US or China will be the world’s “leading economic power” 10 years from now, more Filipino American’s favored China (41 percent) while those who chose the US accounted for 32 percent.

On social attitudes, Pew said Filipino-Americans stand out for their low levels of social trust with 73 percent saying “you can’t be too careful in dealing with people” and only 23 percent saying “most people can be trusted.” Ana Roa, Inquirer Research

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