Asian-Americans Continue Making Gains in Bay Area Tech Jobs

Asian-Americans, the nation's fastest-growing demographic, now dominate the high-tech job sector in California's Bay Area, a recent analysis by the San Jose Mercury News has found.

Analyzing census data from 2000 to 2010, the news outlet found that in the past decade, Asian computer programmers, computer-support specialists, system analysts, database administrators, and software developers made double-digit gains in the tech-centric Silicon Valley.

In 2010, for instance, Asian-Americans accounted for 38.7 percent of all technology workers. By 2010, they accounted for more than half. All other racial groups experienced a decline.

Technology jobs by race between 2000 and 2010:

  • Asians: 50.1 percent, up from 38.7 percent.
  • Whites: 40.7 percent, down from 50.9 percent.
  • Hispanics: 4.2 percent, down from 4.6 percent.
  • Blacks: 2.3 percent, down from 2.8 percent.
  • Other: 2.7 percent, down from 3 percent.

The analysis found that about 25.5 percent of the jobs belonged to Asian-Americans who are U.S. citizens, and 24.6 percent were held noncitizens. Many observers have raised questions about whether highly skilled H-1B visa holders are displacing U.S. workers, according to the article.

While policymakers, educators, and business owners agree that the country needs more homegrown college graduates with science, technology, engineering, and mathdegrees, few have found ways to inspire the level of enthusiasm and programs required to generate more Latino, blacks, women, and lower-income STEM graduates.

Educators have pointed to systematic barriers that lead to a trajectory of low achievement and missed opportunities, including poverty, attending schools with few resources that sometimes don't have math classes or Advanced Placement courses, and budget cuts for programs that help first-generation and lower-income college students.

Nearly one-third of 2009 STEM graduates were born outside the U.S., according to a National Journal article.