The San Gabriel Valley took the national spotlight on Sunday when the New York Times featured a story on the area’s Asian population and how it has redefined the Southern California lifestyle.
Asian immigrants first outpaced Latin American immigrants to the United States in 2008, according to the Pew Research Center. By 2010, 430,000 Asians came to the United States in 2010, compared to 370,000 Hispanics. In California, more than twice as many immigrants come from Asia than Latin America, according to the Times, and this new majority is changing the American experience in Asian-majority cities.
In the Times story, "New suburban dream born of Asia and Southern California," reporter Jennifer Medina writes about majority-Asian suburban areas, in particular the San Gabriel Valley, and changing demoraphic and social trends. "The children of the immigrants who began transforming the area a generation ago are beginning to come of age, becoming cheerleaders for the region, running for political office and creating businesses that cater to a distinctly American-born audience," Medina reports.
Albert Lu — a young Alhambra resident who is active in local politics — wrote in April in Alhambra Source that his decision to become involved in politics was influenced by growing up as a first generation American. "We are lucky to live in a democracy; we should not waste it or take it for granted," Lu wrote. "When people ask why I became so involved in local politics, I say it is because I am determined to be a voice for those like my parents who don’t speak up."
First-generation Asian Americans are impacting Southern California culture, according to Medina. YouTube duo The Fung Bros. were cited as an example. They rap about their love for the San Gabriel Valley and the pride they feel for their culture. "We wanted to show how cool and special the 626 can be, especially for food," The Fung Bros. told Alhambra Source in March 2012. "It's the most densely Asian part of the U.S. (and specifically Chinese), so I think the culture in the 626 is really unique and incredible."
But, as the Times, story notes the shift to an Asian majority has incited backlash. Complaints of maternity tourism have surged in the San Gabriel Valley, particularly in Chino Hills, Monterey Park, and San Gabriel. Maternity tourism, a business often involving homes illegally being used as hotels where expectant mothers from other countries stay to give birth, has mainly catered to Chinese and Taiwanese mothers in the area.
For more details, read the full article from the New York Times.