By the U.S. Census Bureau


May 28, 2003 – Asians and Pacific Islanders living in the United States are more likely than the general population to be well-educated and live in a metropolitan area, according to a statistical snapshot taken last year by the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau.

The report, The Asian and Pacific Islander Population in the United States: March 2002 [PDF], said 51 percent of men and 44 percent of women, age 25 and over in this population had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 32 percent of non-Hispanic white men and 27 percent of non-Hispanic white women. Also, 95 percent of Asian and Pacific islanders lived in metropolitan areas, compared with 78 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon said the report’s release comes as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month concludes. “It is the first look since Census 2000 at the demographic and socioeconomic state of Asians and Pacific islanders in America,” Kincannon said.

The report presents the latest tabulations of such characteristics as geographic and age distributions, marital status, family type and size, educational attainment, labor force participation, occupation, income and poverty.


Other highlights:

– In 2002, 87 percent of Asian and Pacific islander adults age 25 and over had at least a high school diploma, and 7 percent had less than a ninth-grade education.

– Nearly 2-in-10 Asian and Pacific islander families had five or more members.

– About 75 percent of Asian and Pacific islander men age 16 and over and 59 percent of women were in the civilian labor force. Among those employed, 41 percent of men and 37 percent of women were in managerial and professional occupations.

– In 2001, 40 percent of Asian and Pacific islander families had incomes of $75,000 or more, and 17 percent had incomes of less than $25,000.

– Also in 2001, 10 percent of Asians and Pacific islanders were below the poverty level.


Data in the report come from the Annual Demographic Supplement to the March 2002 Current Population Survey. As in all surveys, the data are subject to sampling variability and other sources of error.

A related publication released last month by the Census Bureau, Facts for Features, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: May 2003 <>, contains additional information about this population. For example, estimated work-life earnings for full-time, year-round Asian and Pacific islander workers with an advanced degree was $3.1 million.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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