In the 1700s Filipino sailors escaped from Spanish galleons docked in New Orleans. They founded several communities in the bayou, including Manila Village and Bayou Cholas, the oldest Asian communities in United States.
Filipino immigration increased after the United States won control of the Philippines after the Spanish-American War. Filipino laborers came to work in agriculture in Hawaii and California, while the pensionado system, begun in 1903, brought Filipinos to study in the United States.
After the Immigration Act of 1965 abolished country preferences and gave certain occupations priority, more Filipinos with medical training began entering the United States.
Today, Filipinos are the second largest Asian group in the United States. Since English is an official language of the Philippines and because most Filipinos are Catholic, Filipinos often find it easier to adapt to life in the United States and do not feel the need to move to Filipino enclaves.
Almost 1.2 million Filipinos live in California, including 400,000 in the Los Angeles area, the largest concentration outside the Philippines. There are Filipino enclaves, known as Filipinotowns, in downtown Los Angeles and in several other parts of the city, as well as in Long Beach and a number of suburbs.
There are several other sizable Filipinotowns in the United States. Filipinos make up more than a third of the Asian population of Daly City, a community of 101,123 (2010 Census) located outside San Francisco. The preponderance of Filipinos in medical professions drew many to Chicago, where they created an enclave in the northern section of the city.