Introduction and Overview


In the 2005 American Community Survey by the US Census Bureau, 1,204,205 residents of the U.S., 0.4% of the total US population, identified their “race” as Japanese alone or in combination. Of these, 192,256 or 16% were 65 years of age or older, and 71% of these residents were born in the United States.

In the 2000 census, California, Hawaii, Washington, and New York had the largest populations of Japanese Americans.

With respect to language, 63.6% spoke English only, and 36.4% spoke a language(s) other than English.

The 2000 census also revealed that

  • 20% of those over 65 were foreign-born;
  • 5.6% lived in poverty;
  • 11.3% had less than nine years of education while 15.2% had a bachelor’s degree;
  • 19% considered themselves linguistically isolated.

It is noteworthy that there is considerable diversity within the Japanese American population. Differences may be based on such factors as generation, geography (Hawaii vs. mainland residents), education, income, and degree of acculturation and assimilation.