Saturday, May 12, 2012

New 2010 Census Data on Pacific Islander Americans

Last week we highlighted the Census Bureau's "Facts for Features" on Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.  In the few days between that post and this one, the U.S. Census Bureau released additional data.

Let me tell you about it!

This week the U.S. Census Bureau released a paper (the Census calls this kind of paper a "brief") based on 2010 Census data on Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.  We'll be highlighting different aspects of this paper and other Census data in future posts, but for now I wanted to give you access to the paper, the accompanying release, and an article on it written in The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Hawaii's only statewide daily print newspaper.

  • The brief is here: LINK
  • The release is here: LINK
  • The Honolulu Star-Advertiser's homepage is here, and the article is pasted below. 

Let me know what you think!


May 9, 2012

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander population swells

Census numbers show 1.2 million in the nation, a climb of 40 percent in 10 years

By Susan Essoyan

The number of people reporting that they are of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander ancestry jumped 40 percent over the last decade across the United States and by 28 percent in the state, according to new data from the Census Bureau. 

"It's positive to see the growth of Native Hawaiians not only in Hawaii, but across the U.S. continent," said Kamana'opono Crabbe, chief executive officer of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. "Even though Native Hawaiians intermarry, there seems to be this self-definition of Native Hawaiian ancestry and identity." 

Overall, 1.2 million people identified as Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, either alone or in combination with other races, in the United States in 2010. That's still a tiny fraction - 0.4 percent - of the U.S. population, but it's a big increase from 874,414 in 2000. Meanwhile the U.S. population grew by 9.7 percent over the same period. 

According to a U.S. Census brief, "The Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Population: 2010," released Tuesday, Hawaii and California accounted for just over half of that population - 52 percent. The next-largest Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander populations were in Washington state, Texas and Florida. 

The top 10 counties illustrate the shift. While Oahu and the island of Hawaii still boast the largest numbers of Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, Los Angeles County placed third, edging out Maui County, which was followed by San Diego County. 

"It presents some challenges for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in terms of improving conditions for Native Hawaiians," Crabbe said. "How do we connect, how do we network?... We cannot ignore the growing population on the continent." 

The growth in the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander populations can be attributed to a variety of factors, including intermarriage, greater self-identification, a relatively youthful population with higher birthrates as well as immigration by Pacific Islanders. 

Within the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Island category, Native Hawaiians make up the largest group and grew by 31 percent nationwide over the decade, to 527,077. In Hawaii their numbers rose 21 percent to 289,970, according to an analysis of census data released by the state Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism. 

Native Hawaiians, however, were outpaced in growth by other Pacific Islanders, including Samoans, Tongans, and Guamanians/Chamorros. 

Guamanians were the fastest growing group, soaring by 60 percent nationally and 58 percent in Hawaii between 2000 and 2010. Broader academic options and economic opportunity are likely draws for Guamanians moving to the United States. 

Rebecca San Agustin followed the trend, coming to Hawaii in 2008 for college. She is about to graduate from Chaminade University with a degree in accounting and is planning to stay, having already lined up an internship with Deloitte as she moves on to graduate school.

"From personal observation there's definitely more jobs here in Hawaii and on the mainland than there will ever be on the tiny island of Guam," San Agustin, 22, said. "From what I've heard from the majority of people who have gone to school outside of Guam, they are deciding to stay and find jobs on the mainland or in Hawaii." 

The same happens for Native Hawaiians who move to the mainland for school or jobs and then end up putting down roots, Crabbe noted. Their numbers are growing rapidly in the South and the Midwest, as well, he added. 

"Close to half of the population of Native Hawaiians lives on the continent, and just over 50 percent continue to live here despite the economic challenges," Crabbe said. "There has been a high enrollment of Native Hawaiians in the military, so over the years the trend has been for their families also to go with them." 

Back in the islands, Native Hawaiians rank fourth among ethnic groups, after Caucasians, Filipinos and Japanese, according to Eugene Tian, administrator for research and economic analysis in the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. In the past decade Filipinos moved to second from third place, swapping positions with the Japanese.

We knew a few years ago that the Filipino population was going to overtake the Japanese," Tian said. "The main reason is the immigration." 

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