Filipinos in the US: The Latest Demographic Trends


The following information and data in this post is from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Filipinos in the US (March 2018)

The Trump administration continues the drumbeat of tighter immigration controls in the US. How is this affecting Filipino migration to the US? I’ve listed the top 7 demographic trends and the latest Census numbers from the Migration Policy Institute:

  1. The United States remains the top migration destination of Filipinos worldwide. By far, the US is home to by far the largest number of Filipinos abroad. Other top destinations include Saudi Arabia (584,000), the United Arab Emirates (539,000), Canada (528,000), Japan (239,000), and Australia (233,000), according to mid-2017 United Nations Population Division estimates.

Figure 1. Filipino Immigrant Population in the United States, 1980-2016 (courtesy of Migration Policy Institute MPI)

Sources: Data from U.S. Census Bureau 2010 and 2016 American Community Surveys (ACS), and Campbell J. Gibson and Kay Jung, “Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-2000” (Working Paper no. 81, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, February 2006), available online.

2. California remains the highest concentration of Filipinos in the US

44 percent of Filipinos in the US live in California,  followed distantly by Hawaii (6 percent). The next four most populous states are Texas, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey. These four states are home to 19 percent of the Filipino population collectively.

3.  Los Angeles and San Diego counties continue to be the top destination of many Filipinos in the US

The top four counties by Filipino concentration were Los Angeles and San Diego counties in California, Honolulu County in Hawaii, and Clark County in Nevada. Together these counties accounted for 26 percent of Filipinos in the United States.

Figure 2. Top States of Residence for Filipinos in the United States, 2012-16 (courtesy of Migration Policy Institute)

Source: MPI tabulation of data from U.S. Census Bureau pooled 2012-16 ACS.

4. Los Angeles continues to have the largest Filipino concentration in the US. As of 2012-16, the U.S. cities with the largest number of Filipinos were the greater Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York metropolitan areas, accounting for almost 1/3 of all  Filipinos living in the US.

Figure: Top Metropolitan Areas of Residence for Filipinos in the United States, 2012-16 (courtesy of Migration Policy Institute)

Source: MPI tabulation of data from U.S. Census Bureau pooled 2012-16 ACS.

5. Filipinos in the US continue to obtain lawful permanent resident status through family reunification channels but many still remain undocumented. Today, most Filipinos in the United States who obtain lawful permanent residence (LPR status, also known as getting a green card) do so through family reunification channels, either as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens or through other family sponsored channels.

However, from 2010-2014, approximately 188,000 were undocumented, according to Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates, comprising less than 2 percent of the 11 million unauthorized population in the US. Many also get green cards through employment preferences.

6. Filipinos in the US are aging. Is Filipino migration to the US slowing down?

In 2016, Filipinos were older than the overall foreign and U.S.-born populations. The Filipino median age was 50 years, compared to 44 years for all immigrants and 36 years for native-born. Is this due to the slowing down of Filipino migration to the US?  Meanwhile, Filipinos were more likely than the native-born but somewhat less likely than the overall foreign-born to be of working age.

7. Most Filipinos in the US entered before 2000. Compared to all immigrants, Filipinos are more likely to have arrived before 2000. The largest share of Filipinos, approximately 59 percent, arrived prior to 2000, followed by 26 percent coming between 2000 and 2009, and 16 percent in 2010 or later (see below).  Is Filipino migration to the US peaked in 2000? Is  the slowing down of migration due to the improving economy in the Philippines? Or is it due to the anti-immigrant sentiment of the current Trump administration that’s attracting less Filipinos to migrate? Or is it about something else?

Figure: Filipinos and All Immigrants in the United States by Period of Arrival, 2016

Note: Numbers may not add up to 100 as they are rounded to the nearest whole number.
Source: MPI tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2016 ACS.

 Migration Policy Institute Sources

Gibson, Campbell J. and Kay Jung. 2006. Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States: 1850-2000. Working Paper no. 81, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, February 2006. Available online.

United Nations Population Division. N.d. International Migrant Stock by Destination and Origin. Accessed March 1, 2018. Available online.

U.S. Census Bureau. N.d. 2016 American Community Survey (ACS). American FactFinder. Accessed March 1, 2018. Available online.

—. 2017. 2016 American Community Survey. Access from Steven Ruggles, Katie Genadek, Ronald Goeken, Josiah Grover, and Matthew Sobek. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 7.0 [dataset]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2017. Available online.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 2018. DACA Population Data, January 31, 2018. Available online.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Immigration Statistics. 2017. 2016 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. Washington, DC: DHS Office of Immigration Statistics. Available online.

World Bank Prospects Group. 2017. Annual Remittances Data, October 2017 update. Available online.

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About daleasis

President of the Bayanihan Foundation Worldwide
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