by Malou Liwanag-Aguilar/AJPress
LAS VEGAS – In the past years, the growth of the Asian populations has rapidly change. In California alone, the number of Asians has the largest, reaching 4.8 million in July 2004 and the largest numerical increase of 123,000 since July 2003, according to the US Census Bureau.
But the wave of Asian migration has turn to a surprising twist, as growing numbers of Asian Americans are beginning to leave from areas that have long been their main gateways — California and Washington. In a report by Steve Marcus for USA Today, it stated that “Asian Americans are moving to spots in the West they hope will produce better lifestyles.” The aralso explained the reasons – crushing home prices, poor schools, jammed freeways and persistent crime. These factors have sent millions of other Californians to pack their bags and move to the West, namely Las Vegas and Phoenix.
A growth in business and the community
According to the Census Bureau’s 2007 estimate, the number of Asians and Pacific Islanders in Nevada jumped 174 percent in the 1990s and 67 percent this decade. They now make up about 8.2 percent of the 2.6 million population.
Another proof on how big the Asian community has grown is the rapid development of Las Vegas’ Chinatown. Less than three blocks long 10 years ago, Chinatown now stretches almost four miles along Spring Mountain Boulevard. “Although it’s officially called Chinatown, it’s really ‘Asiatown’ said John Fukuda, founding president of the Asian Real Estate Association of America in USA Today. The association just opened its Las Vegas chapter last year.
Other visible signs of growth in the Asian American community are apparent – the construction of Asia Town Center, a 180,000 square foot shopping center and real estate agents are now offering prospective buyers with “fly and buys” for Californians to check out properties.
However, the Filipinos, not the Chinese or Japanese are the largest contingent, constituting more than 40 percent of the group’s local population.
This surge of Filipino immigration to Nevada began later than any other states. Mostly living in the Las Vegas Clark County area, the Filipinos have built a community that is centered to serve the growing population. It has Little Manila, accommodating Philippine favorites like Goldilocks Bakeshop, a mini mall-type Seafood City supermarket, housing other Filipino businesses like Jollibee, Chow King, Red Ribbon, Valerio’s and Philippine National Bank. It is also now a focal point of Filipino tourists and immigrants and is served by Philippine Airlines, which provides easy access when traveling between the Philippines and Nevada.
Development and progress in the area translates into more employment for the locals, something that is welcomed by the both job-seekers and employers.
The lights and sounds are indeed luring more people – not just Asians – from other states. Soon enough, the population will be more diverse – something that will make Las Vegas more interesting aside from its hotels and casinos.