Had it not been for a sharp increase in the number of Asian residents, Los Angeles County’s population would have remained pretty much flat during the past decade.
According to the 2020 U.S. Census count, the number of people identifying as Asian in the county grew by 11.4%, far more than any other group. That’s equal to an increase of 153,199 residents. The overall county growth in the last decade was 195,404 (a net 2% increase).
In the same 10-year period, the overall number of both white and Black county residents declined.
But even as the county’s Asian population grew—it now totals 1,499,984—its makeup has changed in significant ways. For example, Los Angeles has long been the beating heart of Korean-American culture, and is home to the largest Korean population in the U.S. But, according to the latest Census count, the number of county residents identifying as Korean fell for the first time ever. Meanwhile, the number of both Chinese and Indian (the U.S. Census Bureau uses the term Asian Indian) residents has swelled.
So what does this changing Asian population of Los Angeles look like?
A different origin story
The cultural impact of Koreans, Filipinos and Japanese who moved to Los Angeles has helped define the look, feel and taste of the region. Chinese residents have been part of the region’s cultural landscape since the middle of the 19th century. Indian communities laid down roots in the middle of the last century. Those historical influences remain, but the recent influx of people from India and China is creating a new dynamic.
Here is how the overall percentage of Asian groups has changed during the past decade:
There are a growing number of cities in Los Angeles County where the majority of residents are of Asian origin. These include the San Gabriel Valley enclaves of Walnut, Monterey Park and San Marino, but also some cities in the southern part of the county, such as Cerritos.
Some cities experienced a boom in new Asian inhabitants. For example, the percentage of residents in Santa Clarita identifying as Asian grew nearly 83% over the past decade. Both Pomona and Pasadena experienced a more than 25% increase.
Like the rest of the county, the Asian population of Los Angeles is skewing older. The median age, according to the most recent Census, is 35 years old, up from 32.9 in 2010. That is still younger than the rest of the county, which has a median age of 37 years.
How we did it: We examined county and community level data from the U.S. Census Bureau counts from 2010 and 2020, as well as American Community Survey data from 2019.
Have questions about our data? Or want to know more about your neighborhood? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.