Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Over half a million people in the region are Asian or Pacific Islander

To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, PSRC staff dove into American Community Survey data about people with Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry.

Over the last decade, the Asian population grew nearly twice as fast in this region as it did in the U.S. as a whole. In 2010, 408,000 people in central Puget Sound claimed Asian descent. In 2019, that number increased to 596,000.

The Asian population’s 46% growth rate was faster than any other racial group in the region. By comparison, the Black or African American population increased 26%, and the white population grew 5%. The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander population increased 10%.

Overall, 596,000 people in the region identify as Asian Alone (14%), and 35,000 people identify as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Alone (1%).

The highest percentage of Asians lives in King County, with 19% of the county’s residents identifying as Asian Alone. Pierce County has the highest share of people who are Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Alone (1.4%).

The county with the greatest percent increase in people of Asian ancestry is Snohomish. The Asian Alone population there grew 56% between 2010 and 2019.

The Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population also grew faster in Snohomish County than anywhere else in the region, at 15%.

One of the questions asked on the American Community Survey is whether survey respondents speak a language at home other than English. The number of people who said they speak Chinese (including Mandarin and Cantonese) increased from 67,000 to 117,000 between 2010 and 2019. That’s a 74% jump.

Check back later this month on our blog to learn more about the demographics and travel choices of Asians and Pacific Islanders in our region.