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Fact Sheet

September 8, 2017

Burmese in the U.S. Fact Sheet

    MORE FACT SHEETS: ASIANS IN THE U.S.

    Burmese population in the U.S., 2000-2015

    Year Population
    2000 17,000
    2010 100,000
    2015 168,000

    Pew Research Center

    English proficiency of Burmese population in the U.S., 2015

    Category English proficient
    All 28%
    U.S. born*** ***
    Foreign born 25%
    Adults 23%
    All Asians 70%

    Pew Research Center

    Length of time in the U.S. for Burmese immigrants, 2015

    • All Burmese immigrants
    • All Asian immigrants

    Educational attainment of Burmese population in the U.S., 2015

    Category High school or less Some college Bachelor's degree Postgrad degree
    All 65% 10% 17% 7%
    U.S. born*** *** *** *** ***
    Foreign born 65% 10% 17% 7%
    All Asians 29% 20% 30% 21%
    All Americans 41% 29% 19% 11%

    Pew Research Center

    U.S. Burmese population living in poverty, 2015

    Group All Americans All Asians All Burmese
    All 15.1% 12.1% 35.0%
    U.S. born 14.7% 11.2% 33.9%
    Foreign born 17.8% 12.8% 35.2%

    Pew Research Center

    Top 10 U.S. metropolitan areas by Burmese population, 2015

    Metro area Burmese population
    Minneapolis-St. Paul 10,000
    Dallas-Fort Worth 7,000
    New York 7,000
    San Francisco 6,000
    Atlanta 6,000
    Los Angeles 5,000
    Indianapolis 4,000
    Buffalo, NY 4,000
    Washington, DC 4,000
    Des Moines, IA 3,000

    Pew Research Center

    Demographic characteristics of U.S. Burmese population, 2015

    % (unless otherwise noted)

    Among Burmese in the U.S.
    All Asians
    in the U.S.
    All U.S. born Foreign born
    MEDIAN AGE (in years) 34 27 3 31
    AGE
    Younger than 5 7 12 63 4
    5-17 18 21 26 20
    18-29 19 21 5 23
    30-39 16 20 3 23
    40-49 15 12 1 13
    50-64 16 10 2 12
    65+ 10 4 <1 5
    NATIVITY
    U.S. born 41 15 - -
    Foreign born 59 85 - -
    YEARS IN U.S. (among foreign born)
    0-5 years 20 - - 54
    6-10 years 14 - - 27
    11-15 years 13 - - 8
    16-20 years 11 - - 4
    21+ years 42 - - 7
    CITIZENSHIP (among foreign born)
    U.S. citizen 58 - - 22
    Not a U.S. citizen 42 - - 78
    MARITAL STATUS (18 and older)
    Married 59 67 *** 67
    Divorced/Separated/Widowed 12 6 *** 6
    Never married 30 27 *** 27
    FERTILITY (among women ages 15 to 44)
    Women who have given birth in the past 12 months 6 12 *** 12
    HOUSEHOLD TYPE, BY PERSONS
    Married-couple household 71 78 84 78
    Other family household 17 16 13 17
    Non-family household 12 5 3 6
    IN A MULTIGENERATIONAL HOUSEHOLD
    Multigenerational household 26 22 18 23

    The symbol *** indicates insufficient number of observations to provide a reliable estimate.
    Note: Family households are those with a household head and one or more persons living in the household who are related to the household head by birth, marriage or adoption. Households with a household head and an unmarried partner are only considered family households if there are other persons in the household who are related to the household head by birth, marriage or adoption. Multigenerational households are households with two or more adult generations or one that includes grandparents and grandchildren. Figures may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Due to data limitations, figures for Burmese based on single-race population only, regardless of Hispanic origin. Figures for all Asians based on mixed-race and mixed-group populations, regardless of Hispanic origin. See methodology for more detail.
    Source: Pew Research Center analysis of 2013-2015 American Community Survey (IPUMS).

    Pew Research Center

    Economic characteristics of U.S. Burmese population, 2015

    % (unless otherwise noted)

    Among Burmese in the U.S.
    All Asians
    in the U.S.
    All U.S. born Foreign born
    MEDIAN ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME $73,060 $36,000 *** $36,000
    MEDIAN ANNUAL PERSONAL EARNINGS (ages 16 and older with positive earnings)
    All $35,600 $20,000 *** $20,000
    Full-time, year-round workers $51,000 $25,000 *** $25,000
    EMPLOYMENT STATUS (civilians ages 16 and older)
    Employed 61 57 *** 58
    Not employed 4 5 *** 5
    Not in labor force 35 37 *** 37
    UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (civilians ages 16 and older in the labor force) 6.0 8.3 *** 8.3
    LIVING IN POVERTY
    All ages 12.1 35.0 33.9 35.2
    Younger than 18 12.0 45.9 36.5 51.9
    18-64 12.1 30.4 *** 30.9
    65 and older 12.8 *** *** ***
    HOMEOWNERSHIP (households)
    Owner-occupied 57 33 *** 32
    Renter-occupied 43 67 *** 68

    The symbol *** indicates insufficient number of observations to provide a reliable estimate.
    Note: The household population excludes persons living in institutions, college dormitories and other group quarters. Households are classified by the race or detailed Asian group of the head. “Full-time, year-round workers” are defined as people ages 16 and older who usually worked at least 35 hours per week and at least 48 weeks in the past year. The share of the population ages 16 and older who are not employed differs from the unemployment rate because the share not employed is based on the total population, while the unemployment rate is based on those who are in the labor force (i.e. working or looking for work). Poverty status is determined for individuals in housing units and non-institutional group quarters. It is unavailable for children younger than 15 who are not related to the householder, people living in institutional group quarters and people living in college dormitories or military barracks. Due to the way in which the IPUMS assigns poverty values, these data will differ from those provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Figures may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Due to data limitations, figures for Burmese based on single-race population only, regardless of Hispanic origin. Figures for all Asians based on mixed-race and mixed-group populations, regardless of Hispanic origin. See methodology for more detail.
    Source: Pew Research Center analysis of 2013-2015 American Community Survey (IPUMS).

    Pew Research Center

    Find out more

    Explore fact sheets on other Asian groups in the U.S.

    Read the methodology.

    The Asian American fact sheets were compiled by Gustavo López, research analyst, Anthony Cilluffo, research assistant, and Eileen Patten, former research analyst.

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