In the decade following the Vietnam War, large waves of Vietnamese sought asylum in the U.S., changing the demographics of the coastal south. The first wave consisted of well-educated and affluent refugees who fled with American help, but the second and third waves, known as "boat people," lacked formal education and English proficiency, which posed employment challenges soon after arrival. These latter waves of Vietnamese turned to their homegrown fishing skills for survival and eventually settled in coastal towns along the Gulf of Mexico and eastern seaboard.
Today, the Houston area is home to the second-largest Vietnamese population in the country, with approximately 143,000 people, according the Pew Research Center. Additionally, Vietnamese shrimpers have established communities in small towns along the Texas coast, including in Rockport, Palacios, Seadrift, Port Arthur, and others.