Asians Remain Fastest-Growing US Group as Pacific Islanders, Mixed-Race Numbers Grow: Census

Image: President Barack Obama in San Francisco's Chinatown
US President Barack Obama greets wellwishers after stopping for a dim sum takeout lunch in San Francisco's Chinatown on February 16, 2012.SAUL LOEB / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Associated Press and Charles Lam

Asians remain the fastest-growing racial group in the United States, according to new information from the Census Bureau.

The nation's Asian population grew at 3.4 percent between July 2014 and 2015, with migration responsible for the majority of the growth, government officials said Thursday. There are now 21 million Asians in the United States — 1.7 million of which live in California. Hawaii, where the population is 56 percent Asian, is the nation's only majority Asian state.

US President Barack Obama greets wellwishers after stopping for a dim sum takeout lunch in San Francisco's Chinatown on February 16, 2012.SAUL LOEB / AFP - Getty Images file

Sam Garrow, a Census Department demographer, said Asians have been the fastest-growing race group since about 2000, and the main driving force is international migration. In 2013, China replaced Mexico as the top sending country for immigrants to the United States, officials said.

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Other minority groups grew as well. The nation's Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population grew 2.4 percent while the mixed-race population grew 3.1 percent, the third and second fastest growing groups in the United States respectively. The mixed-race population is the youngest of groups tracked, with a median age of 20 years, according to the Census.

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The Hispanic population grew by 2.2 percent to 56.6 million, and New Mexico had the largest percentage of Hispanics in the country at 48 percent. The African-American population grew by 1.3 percent to 46.3 million, with Mississippi holding the nation's largest percentage at 38.3 percent. And the American Indian and Alaska native population grew 1.5 percent to a total of 6.6 million, with Alaska having the largest percent at 19.5 percent.

California has the largest number of most racial and ethnic groups, with more Hispanics, whites, Asians and American Indians than any other state. New York state has more blacks than any other state, and Hawaii has the largest numeric population of Native Hawaiians than any other state.

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The second fastest-growing racial group was those who claim two or more races, government officials said. The number of people who claimed two or more races grew 3.1 percent to 6.6 million. This group was also the youngest group of all racial or ethnic groups with a median age of 20 years old.

In fact, the most diverse generation is the nation's youngest. Census figures show that of those born since 2000, nearly half — or 49 percent — belong to a race or ethnic group other than non-Hispanic white. In contrast, 44.5 percent of the millennials — born between 1982 and 2000 — did not classify themselves as non-Hispanic whites.

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