Asians living in metropolitan Washington have the highest educational level of any population group here and their median income is second only to that of whites, according to a new report by the Council of Governments.
The report on the Washington area's 86,547 Asians and Pacific islanders shows that 45 percent of those aged 25 and older have college degrees, based on 1980 U.S. Census Bureau figures. That figure compares to 40 percent of the region's white population, 27 percent of those of Spanish origin and 15 percent of blacks.
The Census Bureau defines "Asian/Pacific Islander" as those of Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Guamanian, and Samoan origin and "others not elsewhere classified."
COG's researchers also found a correlation between the high educational background of the area's Asians and Pacific islanders and the fact that they have the fewest members below the poverty level and the highest median income of any minority group. Their median family income in 1979 was $24,830, compared to $22,370 for those of Spanish background and $19,075 for blacks.
"In terms of numbers, the Asian/Pacific Islander group here is not strong, but in terms of median incomes they are very strong and in terms of education they are remarkably strong, not only in this region but across the country," said Robert T. Grow, COG's chief of metropolitan coordination.
More Asian and Pacific islanders live in Montgomery County than in any other Washington area jurisdiction, the report says. The combined total of the 24,175 Asian/Pacific Islanders living in Montgomery with those living in Fairfax County (23,184) and Prince George's County (17,064,) accounts for 75 percent of the area's Asian/Pacific Islander population.
The 7,684 Asian and Pacific islanders, living in Arlington, however, make up 5 percent of the county's 152,599 residents, the greatest percentage of any area jurisdiction, according to the report.
Of the major Washington area jurisdictions, D.C. and Alexandria have the smallest Asian/Pacific Islander populations with 6,883 and 3,381 respectively. Asian/Pacific Islanders make up 2.8 percent of the metropolitan Washington area. San Francisco, where Asian/Pacific Islanders make up 10.3 percent of the area's population, has the highest ratio, the report says.
The report also shows, however, that Washington area Asian/Pacific Islanders are more highly educated than Asian/Pacific Islanders in other parts of the country. Just under 83 percent here have high school diplomas, compared to the average of 75 percent. The national average for all people is only 66.4 percent.
The Asian immigrant group that may have received the most publicity in the Washington area were boat people from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in 1979 and 1980, but the largest groups in this area are still Chinese, Korean, and Asian Indian, the report said.
Chinese make up 21 percent of the area's Asian/Pacific Islander population; Koreans, 20.4 percent; Asian Indians, 18 percent, said the report. Vietnamese account for 11.4 percent.