Chinatowns and Other Asian-American Enclaves
by David Johnson
Houston, Texas, and San Jose and Orange County, California, are home to the largest concentrations of Vietnamese immigrants in the United States.
Westminster, Orange County, California
Refugees fleeing the collapse of South Vietnam in 1975 were housed at Camp Pendleton in Orange County, California. Today, the strawberry fields and small stores along Bolsa Avenue in the town of Westminster have given way to a bustling commercial and entertainment center serving the 183,766 Vietnamese living in the area, the largest concentration in the United States, according to the 2010 Census.
As the immigrants became more established and assimilated, they became more influential politically. In 1992 Tony Lam was elected a Westminster city councilor, becoming the first Vietnamese-American elected official in the United States.
Some 100,000 Vietnamese live in greater Houston, most concentrated on the city's southwest side. There are about 25 Buddhist temples in the Houston area. The Vietnam Buddhist Center is one of the largest, drawing 4,000 worshipers each week. Monks at the center preserve Vietnamese culture by telling stories, performing feng shui consultations, and performing acupuncture.