Diverse cultures celebrated during monthlong celebration


May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the U.S. on May 7, 1843, and to mark the completion anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869, also known as Golden Spike Day, and to note the significant contributions Chinese pioneers made to its construction.


The 2010 U.S. Census indicates that the Asian-American/Pacific Islander culture is on the verge of changing dramatically. In May 2012 Asians comprised 5.6 percent of the total population and approximately 17.3 million of U.S. residents of Asian descent. Asian alone or in combination population experienced 46-percent growth between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, which was more than any other major race group. Approximately 2.8 million people age 5 and older spoke Chinese at home in 2010.


After Spanish, Chinese was the most widely spoken non-English language in the United States. Tagalog, Vietnamese and Korean were each spoken at home by more than 1 million people. Approximately 1.2 million U.S. residents identified themselves as Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders and comprised 0.4 percent of the total U.S. population. Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander alone or in combination population experienced 40-percent growth between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.


Generations of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders helped develop and defend the United States, often in the face of tremendous racial and cultural prejudice. Despite these difficulties, these men and women struggled, sacrificed and persevered to build a better life for their children and all Americans.


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