Asians in the Maine economy

The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) has released a report entitled “Asians in the Maine Economy: Opportunities for Growth” as part of its ongoing focus on sustainable development in the State of Maine.

The report calls attention to the past achievements of Maine’s Asian population and what the growth in the state’s Asian population means to Maine’s future.

  • Asians and Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic groups in the U. S. Maine’s Asian population doubled in the 1990s and increased again by 49 percent in the past decade. Still, Maine remains one of the “whitest” states; Asians comprise roughly 1 percent of Maine’s total population, 13,571 by the 2010 census count,
  • Asians’ contribution to Maine’s economy is increasing.  In 2007, Maine’s Asian-owned businesses had sales and receipts of $284 million and employed 2,543 people. According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, the 2009 buying power of Asians in Maine totaled $307 million, a 277% increase since 1990.
  • Asians are represented in every county of Maine with the largest percentages living in the greater Portland and Bangor areas. Chinese, Filipinos and Asian Indians make up the largest share of the Asian population in Maine followed by Cambodians, Vietnamese and Koreans.

“Looking to the future, Asians will play a significant role in Maine’s labor force,” said Deborah Felder, project manager of MECEP’s Asian immigrant study. “Asians in Maine have a younger median age and are employed in all sectors of our economy. Educational attainment levels of Asians in Maine exceed other minority groups and often surpass whites in post-secondary degrees.”

This report is a comprehensive compilation of data and oral histories from Maine’s Asian community. In addition to statistical breakdowns, twenty-six profiles present a cross section of Asians in Maine, including restaurant owners, educators, scientists, artists, health care workers, farmers, bankers, factory workers and many others from communities as far north as Fort Fairfield and as far south as Saco/Biddeford.

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