The face and culture of the United States have always been changing as different races and ethnic groups flow into the country and redefine what it means to be “American.” And in recent years, some of the biggest impacts have come from Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Over the past decade, the group’s numbers have grown, and so has its footprint as it becomes a bigger part of communities across the country. With May being Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Data Download this week looks at the diverse AAPI population and its growing impact on politics.

The first thing that jumps out when you look at the Asian American and Pacific Islander population is its sheer growth over the past 10 years, particularly compared to the nation as a whole.

From 2011 to 2019, the Asian American population climbed from about 18.2 million to 23.2 million people, according to the census, an increase of 27 percent. That is massive growth, especially when you consider that the U.S. population as a whole grew much more slowly, by about 5 percent.

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