Profile America — Tuesday, May 19th. By presidential proclamation, this month recognizes one of the nation’s fastest-growing population groups — those of Asian and Pacific American heritage.

The observance began in 1978 with a joint congressional resolution honoring the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in the 1840s and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1870 with the help of Chinese immigrants.

The occasion was extended to the entire month in 1990.

Now, over 19 million people in the U.S. are of full or partial Asian or Pacific American heritage, about 6 percent of the total population.

California has the largest number of these residents, at over 6 million. Hawaii is the state where Asians and Pacific Islanders make up the highest proportion of the total population, at nearly 48 percent.


Origin of observation:

Asian & Pacific Islander population:



Profile America is produced by the Center for New Media and Promotions of the U.S. Census Bureau. These daily features are available as produced segments, ready to air, on the Internet at (look for “Multimedia Gallery” by the “Newsroom” button).