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June 27, 2024 at The Pierre NYC

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Ethnic Profiles

Japanese in NYC: A Profile

Asian American Federation

Population 

Between 2015 and 2020, the Japanese1 population in NYC shrunk (-3.6%) faster than the City population (-0.6%). In contrast, the Asian2 population grew by 6.8%.

During this time, the Japanese population moved away from Manhattan (-5.4 percentage points) and shifted into Brooklyn (+5.9 percentage points). Even with this shift, no other Asian ethnic group has as high a proportion of its population living in Manhattan (44.3%) or as low a proportion living in Queens (25.1%) or Staten Island (0.3%).

Note: Children are under 18, adults are between 18-64, and seniors are 65+.

Compared to other Asian ethnic groups, the Japanese population in NYC has the highest proportion of adults (74.4%) and the lowest proportion of seniors (7.3%). However, the share of children under 18 in the overall Japanese population is growing: they now are 2.6 percentage points more of the total Japanese population than in 2015.

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Immigration, Citizenship, & Mobility

The Japanese population has the highest percentage of non-citizens (48.8%) and the lowest percentage of naturalized citizens (10.2%) compared to other Asian ethnic groups. The proportion of Japanese with U.S. citizenship by birthright has gone up (+5.2 percentage points) while the proportion of non-citizens has gone down (-4.8 percentage points) since 2015. In contrast, most people in NYC became citizens by birthright (63.3%) and naturalization (20.9%). Some 15.8% of New Yorkers are non-citizens.

Note: ‘Past year’ indicates one year from when the survey was conducted.

Only one-third (36.7%) of New Yorkers, in general, are foreign-born, while about two-thirds (59.0%) of Japanese residents are.

The Japanese are the most mobile Asian ethnic group in NYC. 25.3% of foreign-born Japanese arrived in the City within 5 years of the survey. Within one year of the survey, 7.1% of the overall Japanese population had relocated to NYC from abroad.

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Education & English

The Japanese are among the most educated Asian ethnic groups. Education levels for Japanese aged 25 and older in NYC skew towards higher education, with only 3.6% holding less than a high school education and over half (52.7%) holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. This is more educated than the City overall, where 17.3% have less than a high school education and only 39.0% hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Japanese adults have the highest proportion of people who hold a degree beyond a bachelor’s (26.1%) compared to any other Asian ethnic group.

Note: “Limited English proficiency” applies to those who do not speak English only and speak English less than very well.

The Japanese community’s English proficiency levels are lower than those of NYC overall, with 34.7% of Japanese over the age of 5 considered to have limited English proficiency (LEP) versus the City’s 22.4% rate. The LEP rate is lower for Japanese children (5+ but under 18) at 12.1% but significantly higher for Japanese seniors (age 65+) at 53.9%.

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Income & Poverty

Note: Adjusted for inflation.

Japanese New Yorkers have above-average per capita, family, and household median incomes compared to New York City residents overall. They also have the highest per capita median income compared to other Asian ethnic groups.

Note: Near poverty is above 100% but below 200% of the poverty threshold. Children are under 18, adults are between 18-64, and seniors are 65+.

Japanese poverty rates are below-average compared to both NYC and Asian populations.

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Benefits & Health

Japanese households3 are enrolled in SNAP at a significantly lower rate than New York City households and have the lowest rate of SNAP enrollment (2.7%) compared to other Asian ethnic groups.

The Affordable Care Act has significantly reduced the number of uninsured in NYC, and the Japanese population is no exception. Between 2015 and 2020, 56.8% fewer Japanese people were uninsured. The Japanese have the highest proportion of people enrolled in private insurance (80.8%) and the lowest proportion in public insurance (17.5%) compared to other Asian ethnic groups.

A much lower percentage of the Japanese population is enrolled in government-assisted health insurance compared to both the general NYC and Asian populations. The population’s 11.2% enrollment rate is the lowest among Asian ethnic groups.

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Employment

Note: Civilian labor force participation rate is the count of civilians employed and unemployed over the total labor force (age 16 and over, including those in the military).

Japanese labor force participation rates are above-average for both male and female workers. Among other Asian ethnic groups, the Japanese have the highest labor force participation rate overall and for male workers.

Note: Calculated over the civilian labor force.

Japanese unemployment rates are lower than City rates across the board. The female Japanese unemployment rate (3.7%) is almost half of the male Japanese unemployment rate (6.2%).

Japanese employees have the highest rates of self-employment compared to other Asian ethnic groups. This is driven by female Japanese employees, whose self-employment rates (15.8%) are nearly double that of the City rate (8.1%) and also higher than the male Japanese self-employment rate (12.5%).

Two-thirds (67.2%) of the Japanese labor force is employed by five industries. The highest percentage of Japanese employed by a single industry is 21.6% in professional services. Within professional services, 18.1% of Japanese work in computer systems design, 16.5% work in specialized design services, and 9.9% work in management, scientific, and technical consulting services.

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Housing

Average household size, NYC, 2015 and 2020

Household group20152020
Overall2.652.57
Asian3.102.98
Japanese2.242.27

Japanese household3 sizes in 2020 have remained about the same since 2015 (2.24 vs. 2.27). Japanese households are slightly smaller than City households (2.27 vs. 2.57) and are the smallest when compared to other Asian ethnic groups. In general, average household sizes have decreased in New York City since 2015 – Japanese households prove to be an exception.

Note: Overcrowding is defined as more than one person per room.

Japanese households3 are overcrowded (9.2%) at about the same rate as City households (8.2%) but at a lower rate than Asian households (14.7%).

Japanese households3 own their homes at a lower rate and rent at a higher rate than City and Asian households. While 32.4% of the City households are owned, only 17.1% of Japanese households are owned. Japanese New Yorkers have the lowest homeownership rates (and highest renting rates) compared to other Asian ethnic groups.

Note: A household is considered rent burdened if between 30%-50% of household income is spent on gross rent and severely rent burdened if over 50% of household income is spent on gross rent.

While a significant proportion of Japanese households3 rent, Japanese renters are less rent burdened compared to City and Asian renters. 58.9% of rented Japanese households are rent burdened in some capacity, with the majority qualifying as severely rent burdened. These rates are below City (72.3% of rented households qualify as rent burdened) and Asian households (75.3%).

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Technology

Note: A household is considered to own a computer if they own a desktop or laptop, a smartphone, a tablet or other portable wireless computer, or some other type of computer.

Among Asian ethnic groups, Japanese households3 report the highest rates of computer ownership.

Japanese households3 also report the highest internet access rates compared to other Asian ethnic groups.

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1 Japanese statistics are for the Japanese Alone or in Any Combination category unless otherwise noted.

2 Asian statistics are for the Asian Alone or in Any Combination category unless otherwise noted.

3 Asian households led by an Asian householder and can consist of non-Asian persons. Similarly, Japanese households are led by a Japanese householder and can consist of non-Japanese persons.

Technical Notes

Race Categories
Beginning with the Census 2000, the Census Bureau collects data in which respondents were allowed to mark more than one race. For example, 2000 data include results for single race as well as multiple-race responses. “Japanese Alone” corresponds to the respondents who reported only Japanese and no other race category. “Alone” should be considered the minimum population size in any analysis that uses Census Bureau data.

To be as inclusive as possible, this profile uses “Japanese Alone or in Any Combination” numbers where possible. “Alone or in Any Combination” corresponds to the responses (not respondents) that included Japanese , either alone or in any combination with other Asian groups or other race categories. If a respondent selected Japanese and another racial group (e.g., Japanese and black), that individual, while excluded from the “Japanese Alone” count, was tallied in the “Alone or in Any Combination” count for Japanese and the other racial group. Hence, some overlap in the “In Any Combination” numbers occurred. “Alone or in Any Combination” should be considered the maximum population size in any analysis that uses Census Bureau data.

 

About This Profile
These profiles were released in August 2022 and are based on the 2015 and 2020 American Community Survey 5-year Public Use Microdata Sample.

This is one of a series of Asian American population profiles prepared by the Asian American Federation Census Information Center (CIC) to increase understanding of the rapidly growing and diverse Asian American population in the New York metropolitan area. Highlighted statistics, including those not found on charts, are sourced via this profile’s detailed data and documentation. Data citations from this profile should include the following acknowledgment: “Data derived from analysis by the Asian American Federation Census Information Center.”

For more information regarding this profile, please contact the Asian American Federation Census Information Center at (646)492-8958 x 221 or [email protected], or visit our Census Center.

 



Annie Wang is AAF’s summer 2022 research intern and a master’s student studying International Migration Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY. You can reach her at [email protected].

Acknowledgements

BY Annie Wang