As a translation company, we work closely with many different ethnic groups. In this new series, we’d like you to join us as we take a closer look at some of these groups residing in the United States. We’ll focus on a different group each month, and briefly explore their culture, languages and demographics. To kick off our series, we’d like to start with Filipino Americans.
Filipino Americans are the second-largest Asian American group in the United States, with 3.1 million individuals residing here, according to the 2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census. Hawaii, California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Illinois, Texas , Florida, Virginia and Nevada are the states with the largest Filipino populations. While some Filipinos emigrated to the United States seeking political freedom, many more came hoping to establish a better life with more opportunities for themselves and their families.
Filipino Americans may speak Tagalog, Ilokano, Spanish, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Visayan languages, Bikolano, and other Philippine languages at home. However, because English is one of the Philippines’ official languages, many Filipino Americans are fluent English-speakers as well. In the Philippines, English is used in the legal system as well as in higher education. Filipino, based on Tagalog, is the other official standardized language of the Philippines. In the United States, Tagalog is the fifth most-spoken language, with over 1.2 million speakers. Fluency in the languages of the Philippines has declined with second and third-generation Filipino Americans, creating a language barrier between older and younger generations.
Filipino Americans tend to have a strong median household income. Many have gravitated towards the healthcare industry, working as nurses, doctors, dentists and healthcare support staff. Filipino Americans have a high educational attainment rate, with 47.9% of all Filipino Americans over the age of 25 possessing a Bachelor’s degree. Filipino Americans enjoy a strong sense of family and community. Festivals and community events celebrating Filipino culture are extremely important to Filipino Americans, with fiestas, street festivals, parades and feasts bringing generations together to celebrate their heritage and culture.