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[COMMUNITY] Is Orange County the Asian American Dream Come True?

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  • madchinaman
    Is Orange County the Asian American Dream Come True? http://goldsea.com/Air/Issues/Orange/orange.html To understand Orange County s unique place in the Asian
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 18, 2005
      Is Orange County the Asian American Dream Come True?

      To understand Orange County's unique place in the Asian American
      consciousness one must reconcile several seemingly conflicting
      images. First, Orange County has traditionally been one of the
      state's richest, whitest and most conservative counties. Second, it
      is home to UC Irvine, easily the most prestigious university in
      which Asians actually outnumber Whites 2-1 (54% to 28%). Third, it
      hosts the nation's largest Vietnamese population (145,000). Fourth,
      it's the home of the import-car racing craze, prompting some to dub
      UCI the University of Civics and Integras.
      Home of the Asian American Dream?

      Stroll around Costa Mesa's South Coast Plaza, the nation's
      toniest shopping center, and you will question the Census figures
      that place the Asian/Pacific Islander American population at only
      460,000 (or 15.3%) of Orange County's 3 million. The crowds of
      Chinese, Corean and Vietnamese shoppers will convince you it must be
      30% or more. In some ways you would be correct. Demographic trends
      suggest the County's white population is downright geriatric and
      shrinking at accelerating rates. Including white Hispanics, it is
      nominally 64% of OC population but it fields barely 44% of public
      school enrollment.

      The fastest growing segment of the population is Asian, with a
      staggering 65% growth between 1990 and 2000. Already Orange County
      is the sixth largest AA metro area and is headed toward the number 4
      spot by the next census. For one thing Westminster's Little Saigon
      is the mecca for Vietnamese Americans, one of the nation's two
      fastest-growing Asian nationalities. In the wake of Saigon's fall in
      1975 the first big wave of Vietnamese refugees and immigrants began
      their American lives in nearby Camp Pendleton before building Little
      Saigon on parcels of what were once Japanese American strawberry
      fields and orange groves. Today Little Saigon is easily Orange
      County's most spectacular ethnic enclave.

      Chinese Americans are a distant second in terms of OC's Asian
      population, with a population of 65,000. Most are professionals who
      tend to meld into picture-perfect communities like Irvine (30%
      Asian), Anaheim Hills, Laguna Hills and even ritzy Lemon Heights and
      Newport Beach. Many are former LA and Bay Area residents fleeing
      traffic and crime. In the process they helped turn the County into
      Silicon Valley South.

      Not far from Little Saigon is Orange County's own Koreatown
      stretching over a half mile along Garden Grove Boulevard. With a
      60,000 strong community, Coreans are OC's third largest AA
      population. Like the Chinese, most lead suburban lives, whisking
      their kids to highly-rated schools in the hushed comfort of Benzes
      and oversized utes. The County also attracts significant but less
      visible populations of Filipino, Japanese and Indian Americans.
      Collectively, Asian Americans are the County's most affluent
      segment, buying homes valued at twice the county average.

      Is Orange County the embodiment of the Asian American dream? Or
      is it the place where the AA identity goes to die? Or both?
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