In one generation, the minorities of the US will be the majority of the country

The quotation is from Colin Powell on Meet the Press last year making the point that the Republican Party is running the risk of alienating the “new majority” while trying to ensure the support of the fringes of the “new minority”. Of course this new found majority (African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans ) is a conglomeration of different ethnic groups and the “new minority” is still – by far – the largest distinct ethnic group.

Colin Powell (former Secretary of State, G.W. Bush Administration): The country is changing demographically.
And if the Republican Party doesn’t change along with that demographic, we’re going to be in trouble. And so, when we see that in one more generation, the minorities of America; African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans will be the majority of the country, you can’t go around saying that we don’t want to have a solid immigration policy.

The Asian Americans are the fastest growing group though it does seem a little odd to lump Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Vietnamese, Korean and other Asians as being a single “ethnic group”.

  • Asians comprised just over 6 percent of the total U.S. population in 2011, having grown by 46 percent between 2000 and 2010. This rate of growth makes Asian Americans the fastest growing group by race in the United States. 
  • Since 2011, the United States Census Bureau reports that the Asian American population grew by approximately 2.9 percent (530,000) exceeding 18.9 million in 2012.
  • Approximately 68% of Asian Americans old enough to vote are U.S. citizens. 
  • More than 60 percent of this growth in the Asian American population was due to immigration.
  • Approximately 10 percent of undocumented immigrants (almost 1.2 million people) in the United States were born in five Asian countries: China, the Philippines, India, Korea, and Vietnam.

There is a great deal of diversity among Asian Americans:

(While) Asian Americans as an aggregate have relatively high median family incomes, it is important to note that Asian American per capita income is actually lower than that of whites. Asian America also includes 43 diverse ethnic groups speaking over 100 distinct language dialects. Among these groups, the Hmong, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Chinese exceed the national average of adults without high school diplomas, and are not among the Asian American ethnic groups whose representation among those enrolled in American colleges and universities exceeds their share of the population

Pew has analysed the 2010 census data.


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As Jeb Bush observed

…I mean, if you look at Asian Americans, for example, in general, they have higher income than the median of our country, more intact families, more entrepreneurship, higher levels of education. And they supported President Obama 75-24; higher margins than with Hispanics…

Though a large section of Asian Americans based on their family values and entrepreneurship would be expected to be Republicans, they are overwhelmingly Democratic supporters (75%). It seems that this is primarily based on a single issue – immigration. There is a real sense of insecurity engendered by the rhetoric of prominent Republicans on immigration. Interestingly they are also the group where individuals are least likely to describe themselves as religious and where marriage outside the ethnic group is most acceptable (50% would have no objection to marrying outside the community). Of current Asian American marriages (2008 – 2010), 29% were to non-Asians and 6% to other Asian ethnic groups. But 40% say that all or most of their friends are from their own country of origin. Among some ethnic groups (Vietnamese, Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Bangladeshi) 50- 60% don’t speak English very well whereas in other (presumably more integrated) groups (Japanese, Indian, Malaysian) this number is around 20 – 25%.

The US is, by a long way, the most multi-ethnic country in the world. But what is also apparent is that integration with the accompanying development of a new inclusive culture is the key rather than the preserving of multiple cultures of origin. This is the problem, I think, in much of Europe. Multi-culturism has been made a God, but multi-culturism is inherently a preserving of the past. Integration with the development of a new, over-riding, multi-ethnic culture is the only way forward. And integration requires language. The one single step that could contribute most to the integration of different ethnic groups in Europe, I think, would be to ensure that all immigrants (regardless of age) become proficient in the local language (and to allow the language of the country of origin to find its own level).


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