Asian Population in New York City Tops One Million, Larger than Los Angeles and San Francisco Combined

A recent article in the New York Times centered on the rising Asian population in New York and its efforts to gain more political clout. Citing recent census data, the Times states that the Asian population in New York has exceeded one million for the first time ever, giving the city a substantially larger Asian population than either Los Angeles or San Francisco. The Asian population has been growing far faster than other racial groups in New York, increasing 32 percent since 2000, as compared with an 8 percent increase among Hispanics, a 3 percent decline among non-Hispanic whites, and a 5 percent decline in the black population during the same period.

But according to the article: "Asians in New York City still remain underrepresented in elected office, community leaders say, with only one Asian-American in the State Legislature, two on the City Council and one in a citywide post." Furthermore, "Advocates contend that public and private money for their community service organizations does not match the population’s size or need."

One of the reasons the article gives for underrepresentation of Asian Americans in political offices is the diversity of the Asian population in New York, and how that diversity hinders their progress and potential for collaboration. The Times writes: "Asian-Americans in New York trace their roots to dozens of countries, and speak more than 40 languages and dialects...Older immigrants may have lingering prejudices against other nationalities, rooted in historic rivalries among their native countries. Some organizations, particularly well-established Chinese ones that were in the vanguard of the fight for immigrant rights during the last century, may be hesitant to share hard-won gains. And South Asian groups have sometimes felt muscled aside or ignored by their more established East Asian counterparts."

It has not been easy for these different organizations to find common ground, but as the Asian population grows, there are signs that things might be changing: "As the number of Asians has soared, scores of groups that have long operated independently, and sometimes at odds, have begun pulling together into pan-Asian coalitions in recent years, particularly as younger generations and newer arrivals have seen the advantages of unifying."

NH cf
SSDAN Office

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