10 Ethnicities Increasing Diversity in the OC

The OC Register put together a colorful photo slideshow to shed light on the many immigrant groups in Orange County, California, in O.C.’s top 10 immigrant populations. The content of this post is excerpted from the slideshow’s caption text by Cindy Carcamo, with demographic data attributed to the 2010 American Community Survey and 2010 U.S. Census. [ed.note: the captions note for every group that “It’s unclear what portion of this population are U.S. citizens, legal residents or in the country illegally because survey officials don’t ask.”]

An estimated 918,000 foreign-born people lived in Orange County in 2010… More than half of this population is from Latin America, closely followed by Asia with about 400,000 people …

Mexico: An estimated 367,653 people in Orange County were born in Mexico. Mexican nationals make up 40 percent of the foreign-born population in the county. The longtime hub of the county’s Mexican community is in the city of Santa Ana, where Fiestas Patrias is celebrated each year in the downtown area. Mexican nationals have long been part of Orange County’s population. In Orange County, an estimated 888,255 people in 2010 described themselves as being of Mexican origin…

Vietnam: Vietnamese nationals make up the second largest group of foreign-born people in Orange County. Two years ago, an estimated 135,862 people in O.C. were born in Vietnam… The Vietnamese population is mostly centered in Westminster and Garden Grove. The Tet Festival is one of several celebrations for the community. The Vietnamese population is a political force in Orange County. Some leaders have gained key political positions in the county. In 2011, Michael Vo became Fountain Valley’s first Vietnamese councilman. He was a 17-year-old refugee fleeing the Vietnamese communist regime when he arrived in the United States in 1980.

Korea: An estimated 62,260 Korean nationals lived in Orange County in 2010… Many Koreans in Orange County reside in Irvine. Hundreds of people gather in the city for the annual Irvine Korean Cultural Festival. As the Korean population has grown, so has the community’s political standing in Orange County. In 2008, Sukhee Kang became Irvine’s first Korean-American mayor. Kang, a first-generation immigrant, became the nation’s first Korean-American mayor of a major U.S. city, according to news reports.

Philippines: An estimated 48,826 Filipino nationals lived in Orange County in 2010… Most of the Filipino-Americans live in Buena Park… Orange County has one of the highest concentrations of Asian residents, including Filipinos, in the nation… Filipino-Americans live throughout Orange County but are grouped mostly in Buena Park, La Palma, Irvine, Cypress, Fullerton and Stanton.

China: About 42,800 Chinese nationals lived in Orange County in 2010… This total includes about 20,000 people born in Taiwan. A little more than 30 percent of the county’s Chinese-American population lives in Irvine… Others live mostly in La Palma, Cypress and Fullerton. The Chinese-American population has taken leadership positions in organizations throughout the county, including the faith-based communities. In 2009, Francis Ng became the first priest of Chinese descent to be ordained in Orange County.

Iran: An estimated 27,500 Iranian nationals live in Orange County… The Iranian-American community is an active force in Orange County, often showing support for the people in their homeland. The Mehregan Festival is celebrated in Irvine by the Iranian community every year. The Persian festival will celebrate its 16th year in Irvine this fall.

India: An estimated 25,000 people in Orange County were born in India…  The Indian-American population in Orange County is primarily centered in Irvine and La Palma…  As the Indian-American population in Orange County has grown, so has the number of Indian eateries and grocery stores.

El Salvador: An estimated 18,000 people who live in Orange County were born in El Salvador… about 26,000 people in the county identified themselves as being of Salvadoran origin. This figure includes people who are born in the United States and identify as Salvadoran-Americans and people who are born in El Salvador. … Santa Ana is the hub of the Salvadoran-American community in Orange County. The community has more than doubled since 2000. The Salvadoran-American population in Orange County is nearly at 30,000. Despite the growing community, the Salvadoran consular office in Santa Ana closed late last year. Many in the community expressed sadness over the closure.

Canada: About 13,000 Canadian nationals live scattered throughout Orange County… Canadian nationals and Canadian-Americans are spread throughout the county. Some get together in O.C. to celebrate various Canadian holidays, such as Canada Day (July 1) and Canadian Thanksgiving (the second Monday in October). Canadian-Americans and Canadians nationals formed a group in Orange County as a networking platform. The group is called Canadians in Orange County.

Guatemala: An estimated 12,000 Guatemalan nationals live in Orange County… Guatemalan-Americans make up the third-largest Latino population in Orange County. However, the closest consular office is in Los Angeles. The Guatemalan consulate set up a mobile service in 2003 in Santa Ana to make it easier for the local community to get passports and identification cards. Hundreds stood in line for hours on that day for services. While Mexican-American businesses dominate in Orange County, Guatemalan immigrants have also set up some specialty shops, especially in Santa Ana.