Demographic Profile

One of the fastest-growing minority groups in the United States, the Asian American population increased approximately 28% from 2000 to 2008. Projecting sustained growth in years to come, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates 40.6 million residents will identify as Asian or Asian in combination with one or more other races by 2050.

Similarly, Asian Americans comprise one of the fastest-growing and most diverse segments in Montgomery County, representing more than 13% of the County’s total population. Some statistics to note regarding the County’s Asian population:

Asian Americans in Montgomery County—2006-2008 ACS 3-year estimates

  • 123,822 (13.1%) County residents are Asian American, encompassing 45% of Maryland’s total Asian population
  • 73.7% are foreign born
  • 83.8% speak a language other than English at home
  • 36.9% speak English “less than very well”
  • 4.6% live below the poverty line, while 10.5% of the population 65 and over live below the poverty line, compared to 3.5% and 4.5%, respectively, among whites
  • 1 in 10 does not have a high school diploma

Asian Subgroups in Montgomery County

Asian Subgroups in Montgomery County
Asian Subgroups in Montgomery County

Model Minority Myth

Despite distinct patterns of migration into the United States, prevalent linguistic and cultural isolation, and varying levels of educational achievement and occupational success, as a whole, Asian Americans are often perceived as a “model minority,” free of the encumbrances of other immigrant populations.

The truth is, many Asian Americans—in Montgomery County and across the country—struggle to pay their monthly bills, live and work in unsafe environments, and cannot afford or do not know how to access adequate health care.

  • Nationally, 10.4% of Asian Americans live at or below the poverty line, including 12% of adults age 65 and over.
  • 17.6% of Asian Americans were uninsured in 2008, compared to 10.5% of non-Hispanic whites.
  • Asian Americans are less likely than the general population to own their own home and are less likely to own a motor vehicle.
  • In Montgomery County, Asian Americans are 30% more likely than the general population to live without access to a phone.

Among Asian Americans, social and economic disparities are significantly greater among newer immigrant communities, such as those from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, who came to the United States in large waves during the latter half of the 20th century.