WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 13, 2016) — The Democratic National Committee recently released a draft of its 2016 proposed platform, which includes language on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) data disaggregation. SEARAC is pleased that the DNC has recognized that data disaggregation is “a necessary step in fully understanding the needs of the AAPI community for all government services.”
Disaggregated data has the power to unveil long-hidden disparities within richly diverse Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. For decades, AANHPI groups have worked to show that we have unique languages, traditions, and histories, as well as vastly different needs and outcomes in education, health, and socio-economic status. Without collecting and reporting data on smaller AANHPI groups, government services will not have the capacity to create targeted, effective, and cost-efficient interventions that meet our diverse needs.
For example, the national poverty rate for Asian Americans is 12 percent, but it is 22 percent for Cambodian, 27 percent for Hmong, 16 percent for Laotian and 15 percent for Vietnamese Americans. In California, the diabetes rate for Cambodian and Hmong Americans is 24 percent, compared to 7 percent for whites, 8 percent for Asians, 12 percent for African Americans and 13 percent for Latinos.
Several states have already recognized the need for AANHPI data disaggregation. Washington State passed a bill this year that would require data disaggregation in the public K-12 system as a part of a comprehensive plan to close the education achievement gap. Minnesota also passed a law that will require schools to collect and report data on AANHPI subgroups, along with students’ refugee status, home language, and English learner status. California and Rhode Island are also currently debating bills that would institute or strengthen data disaggregation in public institutions of education and health.
We are energized by the DNC’s proposed policy, and will continue to fight for transparent data at the state and national level that would provide us and our policymakers with a deeper understanding of who we are and what we need.
The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) is a national organization that advances the interests of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans by empowering communities through advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building to create a socially just and equitable society. Find out more at www.searac.org.