The voices of Urban Institute's researchers and staff
November 22, 2011

Nonprofits and Asian Immigrant Integration

November 22, 2011

Asians are America’s fastest growing minority group, increasing in number by 43 percent during the last decade. Close to 15 million people -- 5 percent of the total population -- identify as Asian. Another 2.6 million  say they are part Asian.

Immigration accounts for most of this growth. Asians are the second largest immigrant group behind Latinos, with most coming from the Philippines, India, and China.

In the D.C. Metro Area, 9.2 percent of residents are Asian, most of them foreign born.

D.C. Metro Area Population Breakdown

Uprooting oneself from home and country to start anew thousands of miles away is stressful and challenging. Immigrants encounter strange faces, a new language, and mores that may go against deeply held values and beliefs. All this while finding their way through a labyrinthine immigration system.

Some newcomers have friends and family members to lean on while they adjust. Others seek out compatriots through immigrant congregations and other organizations.  These community-based immigrant-serving nonprofits can be community centers and advocates. They also serve as intermediaries between immigrant communities, government and other stakeholders. They provide social services and help immigrants find work and advance.

The D.C. Metro Area has more than 500 nonprofits that help region’s immigrant populations get their bearings. Half of these organizations target Asian immigrants while one in ten caters to all immigrant groups. Most Asian-serving nonprofits are congregations.

Nonprofits serving immigrants are clustered around Washington, D.C. while Asians have been moving into outlying suburbs and counties for jobs and homes. This spatial mismatch however should resolve itself in time as Asian and other immigrants integrate and start new associations, much as those before them did -- thanks to nonprofits that helped pave the way.

Foreign-Born Asian Populations

 

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