Asian Americans surpass whites in San Gabriel Valley, marking a demographic milestone


The San Gabriel Valley’s Asian American population grew by 22% between 2000 and 2010, while the region’s white population shrank by 17%, according to a study released Wednesday by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles.

The study, titled “A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the San Gabriel Valley,” found that more than 524,000 Asian Americans live in the region, making up more than a third of Los Angeles County’s Asian American population.

The report paints a picture of a region whose demographics are increasingly immigrant. Asians and Latinos now constitute 74% of the population of the San Gabriel Valley, the study finds.


More than 2 million people live in the area, but data on the region are surprisingly scarce, said Dan Ichinose, one of the study’s authors. The San Gabriel Valley lacks an official census designation, which means that studies and reports often lack the data to focus on the area, he said.

People tend to oversimplify the region or exclude it from their analyses, Ichinose said.

“People think about this as a place to shop and eat dim sum, and they don’t think that much about the lives of the people there,” he said.

Among the study’s other findings:

  • The Asian American population grew the fastest of any group between 2000 and 2010. The number of majority Asian American cities or neighborhoods in the region doubled from six to 12 over the same period, the study found. Pasadena, Temple City and Arcadia saw the most dramatic growth in Asian residents, with increases of 49%, 52% and 38%, respectively.
  • Nearly a third of the region’s Asian Americans are low income, and more than 66,000 live beneath the poverty line. About 69,000 spend 30% or more of their annual household income on housing.
  • More than half the region’s Asian population is Chinese, while about 14% is Filipino, the study found. The region is also home to significant populations of Vietnamese, Korean, Taiwanese, Japanese and Indian people.
  • Asian Americans own nearly 82,000 businesses in the region, making up more than 42% of all privately owned companies there. The average Asian American-owned business employs about five workers, indicating that many of the companies are small.
  • The number of Asian adults 50 and older increased by 71% between 2000 and 2010.

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