Asians are the fastest-growing ethnic group in Minnesota, having increased by an estimated 3.4 percent between 2011 and 2012, newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.
The increase of 7,750 Asian residents in a single year is driven mostly by births to people who were already in Minnesota, though a wave of immigrants from India has also contributed to the increase, State Demographer Susan Brower said Wednesday. Many of those immigrants have come to Minnesota for high-tech jobs.
"Hmong are still the largest [Asian] group, now followed by Asian Indians, who are moving especially to the eastern and western suburbs," Brower said.
The annual population estimates show a Minnesota that is less racially diverse than the country overall but that has minority groups that are growing at a faster clip than the national average.
About 17 percent of Minnesota's residents are minority, compared with more than 30 percent for the nation as a whole. From 2011 to 2012, the state's black population grew by 2.7 percent, while the Hispanic population increased by 2.5 percent. But blacks remain the state's largest minority group, followed by Hispanics, Asians and American Indians.
The number of white residents increased by just one-quarter of 1 percent. And white Minnesotans tend to be much older than members of minority groups. The median age of whites in the state is about 40, compared with 27 for blacks, 24 for Hispanics and 28 for Asians and American Indians.
"We have very different age structures, but we are very average compared to the U.S. overall," Brower said. "This same thing is happening in many places around the U.S."
Nationwide, Asians were the fastest-growing group in the nation, but census officials said that more than 60 percent of that growth came from international migration.
That's different from Minnesota, where Hmong who have been in Minnesota for years make up the largest Asian group and most of the population increase has been in births.
Other census numbers show that in recent years, birthrates have dropped dramatically for all racial groups in Minnesota. Brower said that partly reflects people deciding not to have children during a recession, but also shows the "Minnesotanization" of immigrants who over time decide not to have the large families that their parents did.
"Recession is a short-term effect," she said. "But the longer immigrants are in Minnesota, the more they tend to have family patterns that are more similar to those of native Minnesotans. You see it happening in the second generation."