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Population, Poverty Both Grew in This Asian American Community

Asian Americans comprise the third largest group in Orange County, California. But as the community grows, so do their poverty and unemployment rates.
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At the same time that the 63,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned businesses in Orange County, California, created over 96,000 jobs, dispensed $3 billion in payroll, and generated $20 billion in revenue, the number of unemployed Asian Americans in Orange County grew 123%, and the number of Asian Americans living in poverty increased 51% to 57,000 people, or 1 in 10.

A new report by Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Orange County and the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, “A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Orange County,” looks at the contradictions found in America’s third largest Asian American community. There are nearly 600,000 Asian Americans and 19,000 Pacific Islanders in Orange County, growing at 41% and 17%, respectively.

Experts say as the community grows, so their needs, not just in California, but across America.

“The trends we're seeing in Orange County are a reflection of what is happening across the United States,” says Kristin Sakaguchi, Research Analyst at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, “With tremendous growth come real challenges across a range of issues. It is important for policymakers to understand Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and their diverse needs.”