Influx of Asian residents in San Mateo County

San Mateo County now holds the eighth-highest percentage of Asians of any county in the nation — its ranking buoyed by the Asian community’s significant growth spurt last year, according to the latest findings from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Asians now make up 26 percent of San Mateo County residents, said census spokesman Robert Bernstein. While the concentration isn’t as high as San Francisco’s 32 percent, it is much greater than the state and national percentages.

About 17 percent of Californians and 5 percent of the U.S. population are Asian.

Between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006, the county’s Asian population grew by 3,500 people — the 28th highest increase in the U.S. last year, Bernstein said.

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, said he saw the change firsthand while on the campaign trail last year. Yee, a Chinese-American who has lived most of his life in San Francisco, ran in to numerous Asian acquaintances from The City who had relocated to San Mateo County.

“Many of them, after building up equity in their homes in San Francisco, want a larger place to live and some open space for their children,” Yee said. “San Mateo County is the natural choice.”

Following a national trend, San Mateo County is both aging and getting more racially diverse, Bernstein said. Just like the previous year, the 2005-06 census revealed that slightly more than half of the county’s residents are minorities — making it one of 300 “minority-majority” counties in the U.S.

But it will be Hispanics whose numbers are expected to increase the most over the long term in San Mateo County, according to the numbers released last month by the state Department of Finance’s demographic unit.

That report forecasts that by 2050, the county will go from about 24 to 38 percent Hispanic. The percentage of Caucasian residents will dip to 22 percent, Asian will grow to 30 percent and the black population will grow slightly to 5 percent.

tbarak@examiner.com


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