Disaggregated data shows diversity of challenges faced by Asian Americans and highlights political power of growing demographic
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 13, 2015) — Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) released a new report about the growing Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) populations in the Western United States, including Arizona, Hawai’i, Oregon, and the Las Vegas and Seattle metropolitan areas.
The report comes on the heels of the Pew Research Center’s study showing the rapid growth of the Asian American population as fueled, in large part, by immigration following passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1965.
“As our communities have grown, more Asian Americans and NHPI are becoming citizens, registering to vote and casting ballots. Elected officials need to pay attention and be responsive to the growing needs and concerns of two of the fastest growing constituencies in the West,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of Advancing Justice – LA.
In addition to highlighting the disparities that exist between specific Asian ethnicities, the report illustrates Asian American business and economic contributions and underscores the future political power of the demographic in the Western United States.
A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in West, is part of a series by Advancing Justice, which includes a national report providing a nationwide snapshot of Asian American communities, a report focused solely on the NHPI population, as well as regional reports on the Asian American and NHPI communities in the Midwest, California, the Northeast, the South, and now, the West.
Some key facts from the West report include:
• There are more than 8 million Asian Americans living in the West. One out of every ten people in the West is Asian American. There are 870,000 NHPI living in the West. NHPI comprise 1 percent of the West’s population.
• Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are becoming citizens in greater numbers. Asian Americans and NHPIs are registering to vote and going to polls in increasing numbers in the West. In certain jurisdictions, Asian Americans and NHPIs have already had or will soon have the ability to produce the margin of victory to impact the outcomes of elections.
• Asian Americans and NHPIs continue to own businesses and employ millions of people. Asian American and NHPIs buying power continues to grow in all major regions in the West.
• While some Asian Americans and NHPIs in the West have achieved economic success, others still struggle to make ends meet. The reality is Asian Americans and NHPIs in the West are more likely to live in poverty, be low income, make less money and be less likely to own homes than Whites.
• While some Asian Americans and NHPIs have no trouble speaking English and accessing educational opportunities and health care, many still need language assistance to access critical services, and have difficulty graduating high school.
“When we talk about the growing Asian American community in the United States, it’s crucial to recognize that Asian Americans are extremely diverse,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of Advancing Justice – AAJC. “While some are doing well, others are struggling. We must celebrate the communities’ successes, but also realize that the success of certain ethnic groups often mask the difficulties faced by others that fall under the Asian American and NHPI umbrella. We are able to showcase our contributions and needs by using disaggregated data in our demographic reports.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice – AAJC (Washington, D.C.), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Advancing Justice – Chicago, and Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.