Asian Pacific American Heritage month found its place in May based on two dates, highlighting both immigration and labor. May 7, 1843, marks the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the United States. Golden Spike Day, May 10, 1869, recognizes the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S., which had significant contributions from Chinese workers. In the intervening century, the Asian American population in the U.S. and Ohio has grown and diversified.
60 percent of Asian and Asian Americans in Ohio are Asian Indian, Chinese, or Filipino
Asian and Asian Americans are concentrated in 5 Ohio cities
Ohio is home to a total of 344,000 people who are Asian or Asian American, living in communities across the state, with the greatest number in Columbus. One out of every six Asian and Asian Americans in Ohio are Columbus residents, and many are currently pursuing higher education. There are also 235,000 Ohio residents who were born in Asia, but not all consider themselves to be Asian.
Seven other communities are home to at least 5,000 people who are Asian or Asian American:
- Washington (Franklin County)
- Deerfield (Warren County)
- Orange (Delaware County)
- West Chester Townships (Butler County)
Asian populations are not a monolith
Like all racial and ethnic groups, Asian and Asian American people are not a monolith. Asia is by far the largest continent by landmass, encompassing 48 different countries. All are represented in Ohio. As shown below, 60 percent of Asian and Asian Americans in Ohio are Asian Indian, Chinese, or Filipino.
Racial and ethnic groups of those who are Asian or Asian American, alone or in combination with other races | Ohio | 2021
Different groups are concentrated in different parts of the state. For example, over half of the Asian and Asian American people in Orange Township (Delaware) and Washington Township (Franklin) are Asian Indian. People who are Chinese are more likely to live in Cincinnati and Cleveland. Cincinnati also has a relatively large Filipino population. West Chester Township in Butler County has a concentration of people who are Vietnamese.
The population of Asian and Asian American people in Akron is particularly diverse
The population of Asian and Asian American people in Akron is particularly diverse. Over 20 percent of the Asian and Asian American people who live in Akron are Nepalese, followed by Asian Indian (15 percent), Bhutanese (10 percent), Burmese (10 percent) and Vietnamese (10 percent).
Senator Maharath (D), elected in 2018, is the first Asian-American woman elected to the Ohio Senate. Senator Niraj Antani (R) is the first Indian American State Senator, after serving in the Ohio House, 2014-2020. On May 18th, 2022 the two Ohio State senators co-sponsored Senate Bill 87 to create a state commission and state office for Asian American and Pacific Islander affairs.
The move aims to improve representation of the unique concerns of Asian and Asian American Ohioans, help combat Asian hate, which has seen an increase across the country since the pandemic, and be a resource for state government. It’s well past time for Ohio to embrace the diversity of our neighbors.