Asians in the U.S. are the fastest growing racial group. What's behind the rise.

By Kimmy Yam and Sakshi Venkatraman, NBC News |

The Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities continue to grow steadily, the 2020 census data showed.

The data, released Thursday, revealed almost 20 million people identified as "Asian," and another 4 million checked boxes as "Asian" combined with another race group, for a total of 7.2 percent of the population. Another 0.5 percent of the population identifies as "Native Hawaiian" and "Other Pacific Islander" alone or in combination with another race group.

The results make the Asian population the fastest growing racial group in the United States at 35.5 percent.

Aggressive outreach in addition to the shifting demographics helped impact the group’s participation in the census, as well as overall population growth, Karthick Ramakrishnan, founder of AAPI Data, a policy and research nonprofit group, told NBC Asian America.

The communities confront multiple barriers to census participation including distrust in the census, as well as a lack of outreach, experts say.

The U.S. Census Bureau released findings in 2019 that revealed Asian Americans were the least likely of any racial group to report that they intended to complete the form. Ramakrishnan noted that one contributing factor to the reluctance was the addition of a citizenship question that was floated under the Trump administration.

The discussions led to many concerns over the possibility that participants could jeopardize their or their family members’ immigration status. It also created an environment of suspicion due to the oftentimes controversial way such data was utilized in their own home countries, experts said.

“It’s what it means to be an immigrant or refugee and the United States … it was really challenging to get communities to trust the federal government,” Ramakrishnan said.


This article can also be found in the Times of India.