Thursday, April 8, 2010
PINOYS IN AMERICA THRIVING
Filipino immigrants to the United States are likely to be better educated; land jobs in healthcare, management, construction or agriculture; and chances are will buy their own homes ahead of most other immigrants, a study published by the think-tank Migrant Policy Institute (MPI) revealed.
The report, written by Aaron Terrazas and Jeanne Batalova, counted nearly three million Filipinos living in the US by the end of 2008 – making them the 2nd biggest immigrant bloc, next only to Mexicans and ahead of immigrants from India.
The Filipino-born population experienced its fastest expansion between 1970 – when it was only the 12th biggest immigrant group – and 1980 when it started rivaling Mexico as the top source of immigrants in America.
But the MPI said that growth started to cool after 1990.
California remained the favorite state for nearly half of all Filipino immigrants, although they actually comprised 43 percent of the immigrant population of Hawaii (compared to just 8 percent of the total foreign born population of California).
Filipino immigrants also account for a sizeable portion of the foreign born populations of Alaska (32 percent) and Nevada (12 percent). The MPI said they also comprise a significant percentage of foreign born residents of Dakota, Washington, Virginia and New Jersey.
California, Nevada and Texas had the fastest growing Filipino communities in 2000-2008, according to the MPI.
Because Filipinos are spread all over the world, one MPI statistic may not have been too surprising – thousands of Filipinos or US citizens of Filipino ancestry counted in the US were not actually born in either the Philippines or US. Nearly two percent were said to have been born in Japan, Germany, Canada and other third countries – likely children of Filipinos married to US servicemen deployed overseas.
About 87,000 Filipino immigrants have served with the US Armed Forces – 12,000 of them are currently on active duty – and have helped fight America’s wars, from World War II all the way to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Philippine-born American veterans comprise the 2nd biggest bloc of the 650,000 foreign-born veterans, next only to Mexicans and ahead of immigrants from Germany and Canada.
More than three-fourths of Filipino immigrants arrived in the US with a college or higher education, the MPI study revealed.
More Filipino women immigrate to the US than Filipino men. And Filipino women are more likely to have jobs than Filipino men, compared to the total immigrant workforce divided by gender.
Filipino women are likely to be working in healthcare occupations, sales, management and finance. Filipino men are likely to be also working in healthcare support occupations, but also in construction, business, and agriculture (farming, fishing and forestry).
Seven out of 10 Filipino immigrants (70.5 percent) 18 years or older own their homes, compared to only 56 percent among all other immigrant groups.
They were probably hit hard by the housing crisis because nearly 57 percent of those Filipino homeowners also had a mortgage or home loan – a much higher proportion compared to other immigrant groups. The average for native Americans is just 50.8 percent.
The MPI report also showed that one in 10 Filipino immigrants do not have health insurance – a number closer to the native American average, and certainly much better than the other immigrant groups where as many as one in three don’t have health insurance.
The MPI study suggests that Filipinos in America are relatively better off than most of their fellow immigrants, a reaffirmation perhaps of their keen talent for adapting to their adopted homeeland.