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Asian Americans in Wisconsin: Overview

"Asian" refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.1 The Asian population is heterogeneous, rich with various cultures, values, languages, religions, and traditions.

As of 2008, the Asian population constituted 15.5 million, or 5 percent, of America's population of 307 million.2 The percentage of people ages 5 and older who do not speak English in their home varies by subgroup: 52 percent of Vietnamese, 46 percent of Chinese, 22 percent of Filipinos, and 21 percent of Asian Indians are not fluent in English.3

According to 2012 Census estimates, about 86 percent of Asians aged 25 and older had at least a high school diploma; this percentage was the same in the overall U.S. population.4 Additionally, 50 percent of Asian Americans held a bachelor's degree.5 About 77 percent of Taiwanese in the U.S. have attained a bachelor's degree, the highest percentage among Asian subgroups.6 Asian households had the highest median income of all races in 2007: $66,103, about 120 percent of the median for non-Hispanic White households.7

Wisconsin Population 

Wisconsin's Asian population totaled 121,549 in 2008, which was 4.4 percent of the state total of 5,672,297. The Asian population has increased 26.1% since the 2000 Census.8

The largest Asian groups in Wisconsin, based on the 2000 U.S. Census, were Hmong, Asian Indian, and Chinese.9 In 2000, 67 percent of Asians in Wisconsin were foreign-born. Two-thirds of Wisconsin's Asian population lives in Milwaukee, Dane, Waukesha, Marathon, Brown, and Sheboygan counties.10 Milwaukee County is home to 31,171 Asians, comprising 25.6 percent of Wisconsin's Asian population.11

Wisconsin's Asian population is relatively young, with a median age of 26.8 years in 2008, compared to 38.2 years for the total state population.12 Thirty-four percent of Asians were under age 18, compared to 23 percent of the total state population.13 Also, while 13 percent of Wisconsin's population was age 65 and older, only 5 percent of the Asian population was 65 andr older.14 Males constitute 49.9 percent of this population, compared to 49.7 percent of the state population in 2008.15


Health Facts

Additional Information


  2. Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. U.S. Bureau of the Census. Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, 2007.
  8. Minority Health Profile, created by the Minority Health Program.
  9. Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Minority Health Report: 2001-2005, P-45716. (PDF)
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey.
  13. Minority Health Profile, created by the Minority Health Program.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid.

Additional Information about Asian Americans in Wisconsin

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Last revised March 24, 2022