Las Vegas Sun

August 26, 2019

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How the burgeoning Asian community is transforming Las Vegas

Chinatown Plaza

Brock Radke

A view of the Chinatown Plaza, Aug. 23, 2012.

Over the past 15 years, Nevada’s Asian population has more than doubled in size — no other state has experienced a more significant surge.

That growth will balloon in coming years, bringing big demographic and economic changes for Asian-heavy cities like Las Vegas, U.S. Census Bureau analyst Jerry Wong told a group of local business leaders Thursday afternoon while discussing the minority group’s spreading influence.

Here’s how the Asian community is transforming Las Vegas:

This minority group is growing faster in Nevada than in any other Asian-heavy state.

Nevada, which has an especially large Filipino population, has the 17th-highest number of Asian residents among U.S. states. Of the top 20 states on that list, Nevada’s Asian population experienced the biggest swell from 2000 to 2010, more than doubling in size.

By far, most of Nevada’s 215,000 Asian residents live in Clark County.

Filipinos account for more than half of the county’s Asian population — by comparison, that subgroup only makes up about 17 percent of Asians in the United States.

Asians in Las Vegas are well-educated, and they spend a lot of money.

About 87 percent of adult Asians living in Clark County graduated high school, topping the already higher-than-average graduation rate for all Asians living in the U.S. Asians living in Clark County are also about 19 percent more likely to have a college degree than the average American.

Their average median household income is $61,000 — about 18 percent higher than that of the average American household. Poverty levels for Asians living in Clark County are also lower than average.

Thanks to their high educational attainment, Asians are the country’s top spenders. Nationwide, for example, the average Asian-American spends about $61,399 per year on things like food, housing, clothes and entertainment — that’s 18 percent more than the average consumer.

Asian-owned businesses are thriving here.

The number of Asian-owned businesses in Clark County doubled in a recent five-year span. In 2007, the census estimated that about 15,000 businesses here were owned by Asian residents — twice as high compared with how many they owned in 2002.

Asian-owned businesses in the county also reported sales receipts that nearly doubled in that time period, topping $3.1 billion in 2007. Wong said upcoming census estimates for 2012 will likely exceed $5 billion.

The group’s impact will grow exponentially in coming years.

The Asian population is expected to triple nationwide by 2060, reaching 39 million residents.

Their share of the nation’s population would more than double from 3.8 percent to 9.4 percent by 2060.

Demographers predict that Asians and other minorities in the U.S. will outnumber Caucasians as soon as 2044.

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