Despite downturn, Indians surge in Silicon Valley continues

May 18, 2009                                                                                            Win a green card Subscribe in a reader

The numbers of Indians and other Asians and Latinos in America’s Silicon Valley continued to surge from 2007 to 2008 even as the population growth of the two ethnic groups unexpectedly slowed nationwide.

For years, Santa Clara County's diverse population - with more minorities than whites - has served as a pointer for the rest of the US, but the latest data released by the US Census Bureau on Thursday is expected to push back the projected date that minorities will outnumber whites across the US by a decade.

The souring economy and changes in immigration policy have curbed the growth in minority populations across the US, but Silicon Valley - with its high-tech economy, safe neighbourhoods and strong public schools - continues to be a magnet for Asians, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Despite predictions that Asian growth would slow as the worldwide economic slump slammed Silicon Valley, the new data shows Santa Clara County from 2007 to 2008 added more new Asian residents in the nation than any other region - nearly 18,000 people.

Census estimates show the number of Asians in the county grew by 3.4 percent year to year. The number of Latinos in the county grew by 3.2 percent and the number of whites decreased by 0.2 percent, according to a computer analysis of the new data.

Nationwide, the Asian population increase slowed from 3.7 percent in 2001 to about 2.5 percent. But Santa Clara County, which became a majority-minority county a decade ago, and much of the Bay Area are clearly an exception to the nationwide trend.

Perhaps most surprising was the continued strong growth of the Asian population, even as some H-1B visa holders return to India, China and Taiwan and the Silicon Valley job magnet loses strength, said the Mercury News focusing on the Silicon Valley.

The annual census estimate does not break down whether the growth in the Asian population is driven by immigration, birthrates or migration from other states.

But Hans Johnson, a demographer with the Public Policy Institute of California, cited by the News, said an important reason for the valley's increased popularity for Asians was: "Critical mass."

With such a high concentration of Asians, he said, the valley becomes more of an attraction for new immigrants looking for family, friends and networks in finding jobs, great Asian restaurants and a nice place to live.

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