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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

San Francisco Becoming More Asian and It's Playing Out in Politics

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 3:27 PM

click to enlarge A shifting political landscape
  • A shifting political landscape

In a year that has been marked by Asian ascendancy in city politics -- including the appointment of the city's first Chinese-American Mayor Ed Lee  -- U.S. Census Bureau data released today highlights an interesting yet not so surprising fact: San Francisco is becoming more Asian.

The data, released for counties and cities throughout California, indicate that the city's Asian population grew by more than 30,000 between 2000 and 2010, even as numbers of blacks and Latinos dropped, The Bay Citizen reports.

Overall, the census bureau found that San Francisco's population grew slightly, to a total 805,235. (The raw data can be downloaded here, but won't be available in an easily accessible format until sometime in the next 24 hours.)

The Asian vote, while always important, has become even more significant in the eyes of aspiring pols in recent years. Expansion of the franchise within the city's Asian community has the potential to shift the city's politics in significant ways -- particularly since Asian-American voters have historically constituted a conservative voting bloc in liberal San Francisco.

"The demographic trends are clear. Asian-Americans, as a population and as a new political power base, are in ascendancy," says David Lee, a lecturer in political science at San Francisco State University and executive director of the Chinese American Voters Education Committee.

Larger numbers of Asian voters, Lee says, "will have implications for the mayor's race this year, as the Asian-American community will take center stage in this election."

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Peter Jamison

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