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Did you know 3 in 4 Asian Americans speak a language other than English at home? Or that Pacific Islanders have among the highest unemployment rates of all racial or ethnic groups? And did you know that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have the lowest utilization rates of mental health services among all minority groups?
Facts such as these about the AAPI community are unknown to many. And with AAPIs as the fastest-growing racial group in the country – expected to more than double to over 47 million by 2060 – comes the critical need to better understand this understudied community. Lack of data has given rise to the model minority myth, the notion that virtually all AAPIs are self-sufficient, well-educated, and upwardly mobile.
Within the expanding AAPI community, there are unmet needs ranging from health care to language access in which the federal government can help bridge the gaps. But how are federal agencies and policymakers able to do so when statistics and information are unavailable or difficult to locate?
To address this issue, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), in partnership with Data.gov, have created Data.gov/AAPI, a single place to find government data on AAPIs. We are launching it, to start, with approximately 2,000 datasets and reports from nearly 50 federal, state, county, and city sources pertaining to the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community. These data, which have been categorized and tagged according to a wide variety of themes, can help federal agencies and policymakers understand and address disparities in socioeconomic status, educational attainment, health, and other areas of importance.
Check out some highlights of Data.gov/AAPI in this video:
The launch of Data.gov/AAPI fills a gap in understanding the AAPI community. When President Obama reestablished WHIAAPI under Executive Order 13515 in October 2009, he made clear the need to foster evidence-based research, data collection, and analysis on AAPI populations and subpopulations. Researchers are now able to more easily access disaggregated data, allowing us to more clearly define the needs of AAPI subgroups and create more effective policies and programs to serve these groups.
We encourage the entire community to use these data to continue research on the AAPI community. We hope that researchers and academics access these data for important research, and that policymakers engage in smarter policymaking based on new analysis. Most importantly, we hope that this important step propels all to understand and tell a more accurate story of the AAPI community.
Kiran Ahuja is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Jordan Matsudaira is Chief Economist in the White House Council of Economic Advisers.