WASHINGTON - Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing, best educated and most successful racial group in the United States, a Pew Research Centre study indicates.

Thirty-six percent of all new immigrants to the United States in 2010 were Asian, compared with 31 percent for Hispanics.

"At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, Asians have become the largest stream of new immigrants to the US - and, thus, the latest leading actors in this great American drama," said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Centre. The report said Asian Americans are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success.

While Asian-Americans were once low-skilled, low-wage labourers in the United States, recent Asian arrivals are the most highly educated cohort of immigrants in US history.

Asian-American are the most likely of any major racial or ethnic group in America to live in mixed neighbourhoods and to marry across racial lines.

Sixty-one percent of adults ages 25 to 64 who have come from Asia in recent years have at least a bachelor's degree, double the share among recent non-Asian arrivals, the survey said Tuesday.

The total population of Asian-Americans, including foreign-born and US-born adults and children, reached a record 18.2 million in 2011, or 5.8 percent of the total US population, up from less than 1 percent in 1965. There are 52 million Hispanics, or 16.7 percent of the US population.

The Pew Research Centre surveyed 3,511 Asian-Americans by telephone Jan. 3 to March 27. More than half said a successful marriage is one of the most important things in life, and 67 percent said being a good parent is one of the most important things in life. The survey said Asian-Americans are more likely than all American adults to be married. Eighty percent of Asian American children are raised in a household with two married parents, the survey said.