LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The latest census data is giving a clearer picture of a diverse Nevada with the Asian American Pacific Islander community being the fastest-growing ethnic group in the state.
Walking through Shanghai Plaza in Chinatown, you’ll be met with numerous Asian-owned businesses.
“You can go out in Chinatown and have 12 different cultures’ food. We’re seeing all this new development," said Eric Jeng, the director of outreach for the Asian Development Community Council.
Jeng says it's an example of the growing AAPI community in Clark County. The 2020 census shows the AAPI population growing by about 41 percent in Clark County, more than any other group.
Nevada is also ranked as the third most diverse state in the nation. Jeng says the AAPI community is growing as a political force with more engagement from both sides of the political spectrum.
“Reaching out to the Asian Pacific Islanders and their issues, I think it’s important and I think it’s a trend I see keep improving every time,” he said.
Jeng also believes state lawmakers are paying attention to issues that impact the community directly like language equity.
“Including health equity for the English language learner families in our school districts and making sure we provide those language resources,” Jeng said.
Second-generation AAPI immigrants are also engaging in more activism, especially with the stop AAPI hate movement that gained traction this year. Jeng says this marked a major moment for their voices to be heard.
“There’s also a lot of voices being uplifted. There’s a lot of voices being heard for the first time,” he said.
Jeng believes voices will spur more civic engagement with politics and policies.
“Out of the growth comes opportunities and challenges and for us, we’re just part of the southern Nevada community and it’s very exciting to be here at this time.”