As populations grow and political preferences shift, Asian Americans are emerging as an increasingly powerful voting bloc. And politicos, NGOs, and pollsters alike are just beginning to pay more attention. So, while polling data are still fairly spotty, evidence is mounting that most Asian Americans hold particularly strong green values.
In fact, research indicates Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders rank much higher on their commitment to and identification with environmentalism than the rest of the U.S. population.
This is significant. Asian Americans represent just over 5 percent of the total population, but according to the U.S. Census, the Asian American population grew by 46 percent between 2000 and 2010 — faster than any other racial or ethnic group. And in California [PDF], Asian Americans make up 15 percent of the state’s resident population (almost three times the size of the state’s African-American population). Asian Americans constitute a majority of the population in Hawaii (57 percent), and are also a significant portion of the state populations [PDF] in New Jersey (9 percent), Washington (9 percent), New York (8 percent), and Virginia (7 percent). Plus, Asian Americans, who voted in record numbers in 2008, turned out in even higher numbers in 2012.
What’s also significant is that Asian Americans have been shifting to the political left more generally.