Sen. Ram Villivalam

Census Bureau estimates Asian Americans as fastest growing demographic in the state

CHICAGO – Reacting to news that the Census Bureau has identified Asian Americans from countries like India and China as the fastest growing demographic group in Illinois, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) vowed to continue to vigorously support Asian Americans, both recent immigrants and those who have been here for generations.

“We need to ensure Asian Americans have access to all of the same state services as other Illinois residents,” said Villivalam, the first Asian American elected to the Illinois Senate and the Co-Chair of the Illinois General Assembly’s Asian American Caucus. “Making sure documents and websites are available in Asian languages is an important first step, and one that I’ve been pushing especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to the Census Bureau, Illinois’ Asian American population has increased by 24% since 2010, with Asian Americans now making up 5.7% of the people in the state.

“People who come from Asian cultures are helping increase the diversity and vibrancy of American culture,” Villivalam said. “The days of Asian Americans only living on Devon Ave., in Chinatown and in other nationality-based enclaves are over. Now, you see temples, shrines, mosques, and restaurants serving food from across the Asian continent in cities big and small.”

Villivalam vowed to use his position as the first Asian American elected the Illinois Senate to help educate his colleagues about the Asian American community and to help bring the community’s long-unrepresented perspective to all levels of Illinois government. Since joining the Senate, he has helped steer additional funding to support the Asian American community’s infrastructure needs by facilitating the creation of a Pan Asian American Community Center and an Asian American Chamber of Commerce, passed a law creating the Asian American Family Commission, and sponsored other measures targeted at the unique needs of Asian Americans and Asian immigrants.

Villivalam also views the announcement that Asian Americans are the fastest growing group in Illinois as a reminder of how important it is to fill out the census.

“If the Asian American community wants to the representation it deserves in government and its fair share of federal resources, we all need to fill out the census,” Villivalam said.