A Snapshot of the Taiwanese American Community and Immigrant Diaspora

I recently came across the website Migration Information Source, which provides analysis of international migration data and trends. They recently published a document entitled “Taiwanese Immigrants in the United States,” using the most recent Census data, including the more comprehensive 2010 American Community Survey.

As many of you might remember, TaiwaneseAmerican.org and many of our community’s organizations worked hard to encourage people to check the “Other” box and write in “Taiwanese” during the 2010 US Census campaign. As part of a growing Asian American community, we believe in the importance of self-identification and an accurate reflection of the diversity of the community. After all, Census data is used to determine numbers of Congressional seats, to make decisions about what community services to provide, and to distribute $400 billion in federal funds to local governments each year.

Remember our website and viral video? http://taiwaneseamerican.org/census2010/

Although the 2000 Census recorded only 144,795 Taiwanese in the United States, the 2010 Census recorded approximately 475,000, a 228% increase. In reality, we know that our community’s migration numbers most likely have not increased that much in the past decade, but that this percentage more likely reflects our community’s growing willingness to identify as “Taiwanese” rather than lumped together with “Chinese” (which is a check box option on the Census). Still, we believe there are more Taiwanese Americans who continue to identify (understandably) as Chinese, and also since it is more convenient to check a box than write in an “Other” option. So for 2020, our community still has work to do to encourage more to write in “Taiwanese,” and hopefully to more accurately reflect our estimated one million community members.

For now, take a look at the Migration Information Source statistics and data regarding the Taiwanese community in the US based on the 2010 data. Below, we highlight some interesting findings, but find the original article here: http://www.migrationinformation.org/USfocus/display.cfm?id=879

  • The 358,000 Taiwanese immigrants residing in the United States in 2010 represented 0.9 percent of the country’s 40 million total foreign born.
  • There were 475,000 self-identified members of the Taiwanese diaspora residing in the United States in 2010.
  • Of the 475,000 self-identified members of the Taiwanese diaspora residing in the United States in 2010, more than three-quarters (76.6 percent) were born in Taiwan. About one in five (20.7 percent, or 98,000) were born in the United States or born abroad to US citizens, and the remaining 2.7 percent were born elsewhere.
  • Taiwanese immigrants are twice as likely as both the native born and immigrants overall to have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Almost one-quarter of Taiwanese immigrants lived in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA metro area in 2010.
  • Taiwanese immigrants receiving lawful permanent residence in 2010 were more than twice as likely as immigrants overall to be admitted through employment-based routes.
  • Taiwan was the fifth most common country of origin for international students studying at US institutions of higher learning in 2010.
  • Taiwanese immigrant women outnumbered men in 2010. Among all Taiwanese immigrants residing in the United States in 2010, 55.3 percent were women and 44.7 percent were men.
  • In 2010, Taiwanese-born adults were more than three times as likely to have obtained an advanced degree as the native born and the foreign born overall.
  • About 114,000 children under the age of 18 resided with at least one Taiwanese-born parent in 2010.
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