The Pacific Islander immigrant population in the United States grew 12 percent between 2010 and 2017, according to the Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s report, which also listed “Guamanian or Chamorro,” alongside Bangladeshi and Indian Americans as the fastest growing ethnic groups in the nation.
The report, titled “Inside the Numbers: How Immigration Shapes Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities,” said Pacific Islander immigrants had second highest unemployment rate of all racial groups, and 46 percent of this segment are “low income.”
The population of the other large group, the Asian Americans, grew four times as fast as the total population during the census period.
While Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrants make great contributions to the economy, the report said, a significant number “continue to struggle” as they face “challenges that limit their access to opportunities and critical services.”
“Nearly 5 million Asian American immigrants in the United States are limited English proficient,” states the report.
“Disaggregated data is important to show disparities between ethnic groups and to dispel the model minority myth.”
The census found that approximately four in five Asian American low-wage workers are immigrants. Pacific Islander immigrants had the second highest unemployment rate of all racial groups, and Hmong, Burmese, Nepalese, Cambodian, Laotian, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani Americans all had unemployment rates higher than the national average.
“There are over 600,000 Asian American and 12,000 Pacific Islander immigrant workers in the restaurant industry, representing the top industry for both racial groups,” states the report released last week. "While the majority of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders immigrate to the U.S. through family sponsorship, AAPIs utilize all immigration pathways. As AAPI populations grow and become more diverse, it is increasingly important that service providers and policy makers work to address their changing needs."