Local News

Asians Seek Southern Home in Triangle

Posted June 5, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The Census reports a 62% increase in the number of Asians who have moved to Raleigh since 1990. Our new neighbors include students who are attracted to the area's universities, business executives who are attracted to the Research Triangle Park and Asian immigrants who are just seeking a Southern way of life.

It's one of the oldest and most established Southern cities, but Raleigh is now becoming known as a center for the changing face of the South.

Yoko Letizia is one of many Asian immigrants who have chosen to live and work in Raleigh. She came to the US from Okinawa 30 years ago, first settling in Chicago. But a familiar feeling in North Carolina's climate made her move to Raleigh.

"I like mostly the weather," Letizia admits. "The four seasons are really nice, and the people too."

Other Asians have come to Raleigh and brought their businesses with them. Toshio Tamura relocated his company AMBTRA to Raleigh about two years ago. The company imports supplies to hi-tech Japanese manufacturing companies. But Tamura says the Research Park wasn't the biggest draw.

"Security wise, (it is) very nice," says Tamura. "I have brought families with me, and then I'm watching security and education."

Education is at the top of the list for many other Asians. Dr. Chow has seen a steady increase in the number of Asian students.

"The Asian population is increasing, I noticed, particularly from China," Chow explains. "There's a lot of Chinese students coming here for study."

Overall, the Asian population throughout the South has grown more over the past eight years than any other ethnic group. Atlanta is the number one city for growth among Asian residents.