Howard Magazine - Page 46 - Diversity By The Numbers (6)

Howard Magazine
- Page 46
Diversity By The Numbers (6)

a range of asian communities


In Howard, the Asian population has seen the highest growth in recent years. Asians grew from an estimated 19,206 (7.8 percent) in 2000 to 60,318 (18.8 percent) in 2017 — tied with non-Hispanic blacks.


The county’s Asian population is primarily concentrated in Ellicott City and Clarksville.


The county has seen a proliferation of Asian-owned businesses, including more than 166 Korean-owned businesses that are concentrated along a 5-mile stretch of Route 40 that officials designated “Korean Way” in 2016.


As a result of the diversifying Asian student population, the public school system has incorporated different religious and cultural holidays. In particular, parents have advocated for the inclusion of East Asian, Hindu and Islamic holidays into the academic calendar.


During the 2018-2019 school year, two of the school’s “Professional Learning Days” are scheduled on Diwali (the Hindu Festival of Lights) and Lunar New Year Day (traditionally celebrated in China, Korea and Vietnam), meaning students have those days off. On the eve of Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, schools are scheduled to close 3 hours early due to a “Professional Work Day.”


The Indian population is the largest Asian ethnic group in Howard, making up just over 30 percent of the county’s Asian population, according to estimates from the Census Bureau for the five-year period from 2013 to 2017.


This is a fairly recent development; in 2000, Koreans outnumbered Indians; by 2010, the two groups were about tied.


Many Korean immigrants settled around Baltimore, rather than then-rural Howard County, in the 1970s during South Korean president Park Chung-hee’s authoritarian rule, said Charley Sung, a Columbia-based attorney and chairman of the board of the Korean Society of Maryland. Tensions between the Korean and African-American communities in Baltimore, including the 1993 murder of Korean-American college student Joel Lee and shootings at Korean-American grocery stores in 1997, led many Koreans to move out of the city.


Pravin Ponnuri, an information technology