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Also, Hmong immigration based on family reunification remains low, especially compared to other Southeast Asian ethnic groups.
With the first wave that arrived in the late 1970s and early 1980s, voluntary resettlement agencies purposely tried to disperse the Hmong around the country, such as Providence (RI), Philadelphia, Chicago, Des Moines, Iowa, Kansas City (KS), Denver, Missoula (MT), Tulsa, and Salt Lake City.
About half of Hmong today live in the Midwest, mostly in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, compared to 41 percent in 1990.
Meanwhile, the proportion of Hmong in the Western states fell to 42 percent in 2000 from 55 percent in 1990.
During the 1990s, the Hmong moved again: away from the West and towards the Midwest and the South.
This helps explain the huge Hmong American population growth between 19, despite the decline in refugee admissions after 1994.
These demographic trends suggest the Hmong population will continue to be among the fastest growing Asian group in the United States in the coming decades.
But there is a substantial emerging class of Hmong small business owners -- many of them congregated near St.
Paul's University Avenue -- and college-educated Hmong professionals going into fields like law, medicine, and non-profit management.
Around 6 percent of the Hmong now live in the South (with most in North and South Carolina), an impressive increase from just 1.3 percent in 1990. The opportunity to make a better life seems to be at the heart of things.