Live Chat: Rise of Asian Americans

Asian Americans are the highest-earning, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in America, according to an exhaustive new study, "The Rise of Asian Americans."

The report, released by the Pew Research Center this week, says the portrait of Asian-Americans has dramatically changed from "low-skilled, low-wage laborers crowded into ethnic enclaves and targets of official discrimination," to one highly integrated into mixed neighborhoods and strongly believing that hard work can translate into success in America.

Asian Americans make up 5.8 percent of the U.S. population.

The results found that:

Most Asian-Americans - 62 percent - describe themselves as American. Nineteen percent define themselves as Asian-American and 14 by their country of origin.

  • Forty-nine percent of Asian-Americans 25 and older hold Bachelor's degrees or higher. That's compared to 28 percent of the overall U.S. population.
  • The median household income for Asian-Americans was $66,000 in 2010. The overall U.S. population raked in $49,800.
  • Half of Asian-Americans are Democrat or left-leaning compared with 49 percent of the general population. Twenty-eight percent describe themselves as Republican or right-leaning compared to 39 percent of the general public.

The report is based on a telephone survey of 3,511 Asian Americans conducted between January and March of this year, in English and seven Asian languages.

Among the findings:

  • There are more than 18.2 million Asian Americans, making up 5.8% of the population
  • The median household income of Asian Americans is $66,000, compared to $49,800 for the general public
  • 43% of Asian Americans are satisfied with the direction of the country, compared to 21% of the general public
  • 49% of Asian Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 28% of the general public.
  • 50% of Asian Americans are Democrat/Leaning, while just 28% describe themselves as Republican/Leaning and 22% as Independent.

However, within the Asian American population, differences exist. For instance, 70% of Indian Americans have received at least a bachelor's degree, compared to 26% of Vietnamese Americans. While 58% of Koreans say all or most of their friends are also Korean, just 21% of Japanese are from their country of origin. Intermarriage rates also varied widely, with 64% of recent Japanese newlyweds having married non-Japanese, compared to just 14% for Indian newlyweds.