By Jean-Paul Salamanca (staff@latinospost.com) | First Posted: Jan 18, 2013 05:01 PM EST

Immigrants from Asian countries like China have increased over the last decade to higher levels than Latin American immigrants from countries such as Mexico, a new analysis of U.S. Census data shows. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

The Golden State looks like it's getting a bigger wave of Asian Americans--so big, in fact, that it's dwarfing the Latino population coming into California from Latin America, a new study of U.S. Census data says.

Census data analyzed by the nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California shows that over the last decade, the Asian population immigrating to California has been steadily on the rise over the last decade.

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According to the numbers the institute analyzed, the number of immigrants coming from Mexico and Latin American countries has dropped by 20 percent from 42 percent in 2001 to 22 percent in 2011.

Meanwhile, the number of Asian immigrants jumped by 20 percent during that same time period from 37 percent in 2001 to 57 percent in 2011.

In 2010-11, only 60,000 Latin American immigrants came to California's shores, down by roughly 82,000 from the 142,000-plus Hispanics coming in from central and Latin America, the date shows, while Asian immigration went up from 108,000 to nearly 160,000 immigrants coming in--many of them from China, Taiwan, India, the Philippines, and Korea.

"This is a pretty astounding change over a short period of time," Hans Johnson, co-director of the Public Policy Institute of California, told the Sacramento Bee, which broke the story.

"For the first time in decades, the number of Asians coming to California exceeded the flow from Latin America, and it exceeds that flow by a lot - 2 1/2 times greater," he added

A big part of the reason for that shift, Johnson said, was due to a greater demand in California for more high-skilled laborers.

While unemployment has risen across the board in California, that number had increased the highest for people with high school degrees or below that, according to Johnson.

"Immigrants from Asia, particularly India, tend to be much more highly educated, much more likely to have earned a bachelor's degree," he said.

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