MOIA highlights Filipinos in NYC, API population in a new report


Filipinos line-up to watch the parade during a Philippine Independence Day commemoration | Photo by Ricky Rillera/PDM

NEW YORK – The New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) has recently released a report that is important for all Asian and Pacific Island (APIs) immigrant populations to know and understand. As a similar report by the Asian American Federation reveals, the API community is the fastest-growing racial group in New York City. The Filipino population alone has grown from 52,710 in 2010 to 3.0 percent or 54,295 in 2019, an increase of 1,585.

The recent City Council elections have seen several candidates from APIs, including three Filipino Americans, which indicates that APIs seek representation to be at the table where policy decisions are made affecting their communities.

While the report is exhaustive, there is some key information about Filipinos as an ethnic group that highlights age, poverty rate, gender, English proficiency, and educational attainment. According to the report, Filipinos:

  • Have the oldest median age among API immigrants
  • Have the largest share of those 65 years and older at 23 percent
  • Have the lowest poverty rate at 12 percent compared to Asian ethnic groups
  • Have the highest percentage of a population that report as female at 61 percent
  • Have the highest levels of educational attainment along with the Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean immigrants
  • Have the highest median household income of all API immigrants at $104,200
  • Have the highest share of the foreign-born population to become US citizens

The MOIA report was prepared during Bitta Mostofi’s term and released by Raquel Batista, the new Commissioner of MOIA.

The report is part of MOIA’s continued work with city agencies and community partners to address racial and economic inequities, especially during COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts. It also comes at a time of increased incidents of discrimination and violence against API individuals, rooted in the long history of racism, stereotyping, and scapegoating of API immigrant communities in the United States. Ultimately, the report spotlights the importance of understanding more about immigrant communities’ unique challenges and characteristics to better respond to their needs.

Overall key findings of the report include:

  • API is the fastest-growing racial group in NYC, mainly driven by the influx of immigrants to the City.
  • API immigrants are one of the most diverse racial groups in the City, representing more than 30 different ethnic groups and speaking more than 50 languages.
  • Two-thirds of API immigrants are essential workers compared to 57 percent of White immigrants.
  • API and Hispanic immigrants have the highest poverty rates of all immigrant groups (24 percent).
  • 13 percent of all API immigrants in NYC are undocumented, slightly lower than the share of NYC immigrants overall (16 percent)

“This Immigrant Heritage Month, MOIA is proud to advance our commitment to supporting immigrant New Yorkers with our new analysis of Asian and Pacific Islander immigrant communities in New York City,” said Raquel Batista, the newly appointed Commissioner of the MOIA. “Amid the disturbing rise in anti-Asian bias and discrimination, this report breaks down myths and misinformation about the community, explores the incredible diversity of API immigrant New Yorkers, and highlights both the contributions and critical needs of our API communities. Using this new research, MOIA will continue working with and advocating for NYC’s API communities to ensure a strong recovery and to build a more integrated city for all New Yorkers.”

According to MOIA, the new analysis demonstrates how the API community is not a monolith; there are many variances in the social, economic, and demographic characteristics between the diverse ethnic groups within the community. In addition, the report says, the fact sheet provides information about the ethnic groups composing New York City’s API community, concentrations of API immigrants across the boroughs, and the languages spoken within the community. MOIA also has provided digital resources to address xenophobia and anti-Asian hate available at

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, New York City’s API immigrants are essential to our Immigrant City,” said May Malik, Deputy Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “By examining the immense diversity within the API community and the issues they face, this report will serve as a critical resource for the City in its continued efforts to dismantle anti-Asian bias and economic barriers within the community, and to pursue a just and equitable COVID-19 recovery for all New Yorkers.”

J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives applauded Commissioner Batista and her team for their work as the city continues “to chart a just and equitble recovvery”

“Better serving our immigrant communities starts with better understanding their composition, their contributions, and the challenges they face,” he said. “MOIA’s new fact sheet adds to our understanding of New York City’s diverse API immigrant communities, and it will be a critical resource to guide the City’s continued efforts to support and empower these communities over the next few years.” (Jay Domingo/PDM)

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