Ethnicity data is critical to address the diverse needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Ethnicity data is critical to address the diverse needs of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

By Karthick Ramakrishnan and Janelle Wong. Cross-Posted from AAPI Data.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, director, and Janelle Wong, senior researcher, wrote this letter with respect to H3361, a bill in Massachusetts that seeks to improve state data collection on Asian Americans

We write as the Executive Director and Senior Researcher, respectively, at AAPI Data—the leading repository for data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. We are also professors with over four decades of collective experience with original survey data collections on Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations and analyses of demographic and administrative data collected at the national and state levels.

Our research findings, as well as those in dozens of other studies, have shown that there are critical differences in life chances among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that track by detailed origin. Thus, for example, Southeast Asian refugee populations have a distinct set of mental health needs that derive from wartime experiences of individuals and family members. Also, population health risks such as chronic Hepatitis B, childhood obesity, and cardiovascular disease vary significantly by detailed Asian origin. Importantly, language needs also vary dramatically by Asian detailed origin, with some groups such as Indian Americans and Filipino Americans having relatively high levels of English proficiency, and other groups such as Vietnamese, Chinese, and Korean Americans have the relatively low levels of English proficiency.

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