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December 15, 2010

Some 513,256 New Jersey residents are Asian-born, according to the newly released five-year statistics in the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. (The survey is updated every five years through a separate study by the U.S. Census Bureau.)

Of this population, the largest group (204,984) is from South Central Asia, which is defined as primarily India and Pakistan. The next largest group (154,743) was born in Eastern Asia, which is made up of China, North and South Korea, and Japan. Southeast Asia, which is made up of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore, among other countries, has 109,331 people living in New Jersey. Western Asia, which includes Israel, Iran, Iraq, and the rest of what’s known as the Middle East, has 42,633 people living here.

In total, 54.5 percent of New Jersey’s foreign-born Asians are naturalized citizens. Some groups have lived here longer than others. For instance, 45.6 percent of Eastern Asians, 46.9 percent of Southeastern Asians and 45.7 percent of Western Asians immigrated before 1990. On the other hand, 37.1 percent of South Central Asians in New Jersey immigrated in 2000 or after.

One thing most foreign-born Asians have in common is that they are educated, but East Asians and South Central Asians are highly educated. More than 31 percent of East Asians (31.4 percent) have a graduate degree, and 33.3 percent graduated college. Similarly, 35 percent of South Central Asians have graduate degrees and 36.5 percent are college graduates. Individuals with college degrees make up 46 percent of the Southeastern Asian population, with 12.6 percent having earned graduate degrees; 24.2 percent of Western Asians are college graduates and 17.7 percent have graduate degrees.

Income levels follow suit, with nearly 40 percent of Asian-born Americans earning more than $75,000 a year and 21.7 percent earning between $50,00 and $75,000.

What industries do Asians work in? Educational and healthcare services is the largest Asian-born employer, with 19.2 percent of Asians working in that sector. Indeed, more than 36 percent of Southeast Asians work in healthcare and educational services. Professional and scientific fields also employ many foreign-born Asians, particularly those from South Central Asia (22.4 percent). The financial sector employs 12 percent of the New Jersey Asian population, and retail and manufacturing employ 11.6 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively.

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