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2010 Census: Utah's Filipino population explodes by 108 percent

2010 Census: Utah's Filipino population explodes by 108 percent



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SALT LAKE CITY — The nation's Filipino population is rising like Makati skyscrapers, especially in the Beehive State, where the number of "Pinoy" residents exploded by 108 percent in the past decade.

According to recently released census data, Utah's Filipino population jumped from 3,106 in 2000 to 6,467 in 2010, making it one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the state.

For Filipino-American Teena Jensen — who moved from Tarlac to Salt Lake City 33 years ago — the increase has been striking.


Many years ago, I knew most of the Filipinos living here, but not anymore. (I) went to a Filipino party last Saturday (and) didn't know half of the people.

–Teena Jensen


"Many years ago, I knew most of the Filipinos living here, but not anymore," she said. "(I) went to a Filipino party last Saturday (and) didn't know half of the people."

Eunice Jones, a real estate broker from Manila, tells a similar story.

"When I moved here (in 1995) I didn't see a Filipino for 10 months, but now I attend Filipino events all the time," she said.

Though the growth can be seen in various towns along the Wasatch Front, most of the Filipinos are flocking to Taylorsville and Salt Lake City.

Jensen credits the rise in residents to the areas' cost of living, low crime rate and geographical beauty.

"Salt Lake is quiet and clean," she said. "Filipinos like the slow pace here."

Customarily prosperous and well-educated, the newcomers have been making their mark on the region's religions and hospitals. And, they're adding a new flavor to the local food scene.

In fact, Five Star Restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City gives Utahns a taste of Southeast Asia through a menu that features lumpia (fried spring rolls), adobo (meat braised in garlic, vinegar and soy sauce) and bibingka (hot rice cake).

Utah's Filipino population is still comparatively small when measured against those of other states. California, for instance, features a Filipino citizenry of almost 1.2 million. Next door in Nevada, Filipinos comprise about 3.6 percent of the state's entire population.

But with the third-highest growth rate of Filipinos in the country, Utah may not be far from the rest once the time comes for the next census in 2020.

"It's exciting," said Jones. "I love seeing new people and welcoming them to our growing community."

Jared Bray teaches English and journalism at Rockwell Charter High School in Eagle Mountain. He also reports part-time as Salt Lake City correspondent for The Filipino Channel's 30-minute nightly news program "Balitang America."

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