Austin home to growing Asian-American population


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist DAVID GARDNER

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 11 at 11:24 PM

AUSTIN -- Inside the Texas bakery in the Chinatown Mall, the Asian community is a big market here.

Lucy Gonzales offers fresh Asian cuisine and pastries to her customers. Gonzales moved to Austin from Houston nine months ago to expand her business.

"We have so many customers every day," Gonzales said. "First of all, we like Austin, and second of all we know in the next ten years the Asian population will grow and double."

Gonzales is right. Experts predict the number of Asians in Austin to double by 2020.

In Travis County, the Asian population stands at 6.8 percent. That's far more than the national 4.2 percent.

"Asians are Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indians, Nepalese, Chinese of course," said Ali Khataw, past chair of Austin's Asian Chamber of Commerce.

Shopping malls anchored by Asian businesses are now a familiar site around town and more are planned.

And work on Austin's Asian Resource Center is going full steam ahead. The venue will showcase Asian arts and culture to the entire community. It's expected to open in May of this year.

Khataw believes employment opportunities in science and technology, as well as Austin's robust economy is why people of all nationalities are coming here in record numbers.

"And third what I think is very important to the Asians is the to grow their family. Austin is an ideal incubator to raise a family," he said.

Khataw said the Asian community has to work on getting more involved in local politics and issues.

"The more proactive we are the more we will be represented," Khataw said.