Asian Latinos: A Growing Yet Overlooked Demographic

By LG Staff

By LG Staff

May 29, 2024

A recent analysis conducted by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute sheds light on the burgeoning but often overlooked demographic of individuals identifying as both Latino and Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI Latinos). Over the past two decades, the number of people belonging to this group has more than doubled, rising from 350,000 to 886,000.

Senior research analyst Jie Zong explains that individuals who identify as Latino ethnically but specify an Asian race are categorized as AAPI Latinos. This growing demographic represents a blending of Asian and Latino heritages, a trend increasingly observed in the United States.

Kevin Kandamby, a graduate student involved in the research, underscores the importance of studying this population, which has historically been understudied. Kandamby himself, being of Mexican and Sri Lankan descent, highlights the personal significance of shedding light on this community.

The analysis reveals that Asian or Pacific Islander Latinos are predominantly either Asian immigrants from Latin America or American-born citizens with mixed heritage. This phenomenon traces its roots back to a history of interaction between Latino and Asian communities, often driven by labor demands in the U.S.

California emerges as a significant hub for Asian Latino Americans, with a third of the population residing in the state. This concentration reflects historical patterns of migration and settlement, with Texas and Hawaii following as notable locations.

State Representative Sonny Ganaden, of Filipino and Mexican descent, shares his experience growing up as a “Mexipino” in Orange County, California. Despite facing challenges regarding his cultural identity, he found acceptance and validation through his community and political engagement.

Similarly, Olivia Yuen, a Phoenix-based artist with Chinese and Mexican heritage, recounts her journey of navigating dual identities. Feeling neither fully Mexican nor fully Chinese, she ultimately embraces both aspects of her heritage, finding strength in her multicultural background.

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