In New York City, Asians are the growing population

Plain English Version – October 19, 2021

There is a surge in the number of Asian residents across New York City. Photo Credit: Janice Chung for The New York Times.

It looked like the number of people living in New York City was shrinking. The 2020 census data would tell us how much.

Surprise! The city’s population actually grew by almost eight percent. Most of the population increase was Asian people. Today, people who call themselves Asian are sixteen percent of all the residents of New York City.

Asians have lived in New York City for many years. The traditional ‘Chinatown’ was in lower Manhattan. Then Asians moved to Flushing, an area in Queens. Queens is one of the five boroughs that make up New York City. Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan are the four others.

Younger Asians are now moving to Long Island City, another section of Queens. It is a great neighborhood, only one subway stop away from Manhattan.

Former President Trump promoted the idea that China was the source of the coronavirus. It did come from China. But Trump blamed the Chinese people in a way that turned some Americans against them. As a result, Asians became the targets of attacks. That has not stopped Asians from settling in America.

With population growth comes challenges. The new arrivals are from China, Japan, and South Korea. They are educated and have good jobs. But there are old-timer Asians still living in New York. Finding affordable housing is a must for them. So, as affluent Asians move in, they may displace Asians with less money. The number of people with Asian backgrounds moving into public housing is going up.

The financial differences between the two groups is getting bigger.

Schools, jobs, and housing are the big concerns. Asian families are trying to get their kids into the best public schools. And that has turned education into a political issue.

For these reasons, the rise of Asians mirrors the rise of all the groups that came before them. This means more, and more Asians are running for political office. Many are winning. The way to win is by appealing to the interests of voters.

It is the American way of politics.

A Taiwanese restaurant sold out of food within three hours of opening in Long Island City last year. Photo Credit: Janice Chung for The New York Times.

More than anything, people bring their cultures with them. Food is one part of the culture. Long Island City is now an Asian food oasis. As younger people move in, they start families. Communities feel very comfortable when the people living in them resemble them,

In Long Island City, facing Manhattan. Photo Credit: Janice Chung for The New York Times.

For these reasons, Asians living in Asian communities in America feel secure. What is ahead is likely more growth of Asians in New York.

In the end, Asians will be Americans and New Yorkers. There are many reasons politicians want them to stay separate. That is how politicians believe they can get votes. But the 2020 census showed that more and more people are marrying outside of their ethnic backgrounds.

The politics of identifying with your group may work in the short run. In long-haul America is a nation of mixed people.

Source: The New York Times October 18, 2021

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