Terry Tan and Mike Schneider – Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) – Jennifer Chow was surprised last month when the U.S. Census Bureau report card As far as accurate U.S. census estimates in 2020 show, Asians outperform the highest among any race or ethnic group.
The director of the Asian-American advocacy group believed that thousands of people would be missed – advocacy activities were scratched a coronavirus pandemic, and she and her staff feared that broad language barriers and vigilance in sharing information with the government could hinder participation. They also believed that recent attacks on Americans of Asian descent could excite fears inside Asian population, the fastest growing race or ethnic group in the United States
“I’m shocked, to be honest,” said Chow, director of the coalition of Indigenous Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Arizona.
But Chau and other advocates and scholars also believe that the 2.6% excess Asian population in a decade may not be what seems to be on the surface. They say this probably masks the big differences in who was enrolled in the various Asian communities in the United States. They also believe this may indicate that two-racial and multi-racial residents are defined as Asians in greater numbers than in the past.
The specificity is difficult to determine because all Asian communities are grouped into one racial category in the census. It hides a wide range of income, education and health between subgroups and tends to blur the characteristics of certain communities, some advocates say. It may also perpetuate the myth of the “exemplary minority” of wealthy and well-educated Asians.
“Asian Americans have greater income inequalities than any other racial group in the United States, and the overall list is likely to mask the experience of Asian ethnic groups that were more vulnerable to understatement,” said Egie Yellow Horse, an associate professor in Asia Pacific. at Arizona State University.
This month, nearly four dozen members of the US House of Representatives asked Census Bureau to break the accuracy of counting Asian residents by subgroup. Asians in the United States have their roots in more than 20 countries, with China and India having the largest representation. But the bureau has no plans to do so, at least in the near future.
“To really see how the Asian-American community is doing, you need lower-level geography to see if the count was underestimated or if some communities did better than others,” said Terry Ao Minis, senior director of census and voting programs at Asian Americans Advancing Justice. .
Asians were listed higher than any other group. Non-Hispanic whites were listed at 0.6%. The black population was underestimated by 3.3%, those who identified themselves as some other race were underestimated by 4.3%, almost 5% of the Hispanic population was missed, and more than 5.6% of Native Americans living in reservations were understated.
Civil rights leaders have accused the understatement of obstacles created by the pandemic and political interference by then-President Donald Trump’s administration, which tried unsuccessfully to add citizenship to the census form and cut back on field operations.
The census is used not only to determine the number of seats in Congress that each state will receive, and to restructure political constituencies; it helps determine how $ 1.5 trillion a year is allocated from federal funding. The exaggerated counts that result from a survey conducted by the bureau other than the census occur when people are counted twice, for example, college students are counted on campus and in their parents ’homes.
In the 2020 census, 19.9 million people were called “Asian”, which is 35% more than in 2010. Another 4.1 million residents were identified as Asians combined with another racial group, up 55% from 2010. Asians now make up more than 7% of the U.S. population.
Part of the growth of Asians in the 2020 census may be due to the variability of how some people, especially those who are bisexual or multiracial, report their identities on the census form, said Paul Ong, Honored Professor of Urban Planning and American Asians. Study at UCLA.
“People change their identities from one poll to another, and it’s much more common among those who are multiracial or dual racial,” Ong said.
Lan Hoang, a Vietnamese American who works in the same coalition as Chau, called her three young children Asians as well as whites and Hispanics to represent her husband’s origins. She used the census as an opportunity to talk to them about the importance of identity, even after reading them a children’s book about counting people.
“It speaks to how important it is for you to make it clear to others that you are here, that’s who you represent,” Hoang said. “When I filled out (the form), they were completely amazed. … “Yes, you are three different things in one. You are special. “
Talks about declaring their Asian origins are especially important given the anti-Asian hatred caused by the pandemic, Hoang added. Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were fatal filmed last year at Georgia’s massage parlors, and thousands more attacks against Asians occur in the US since 2020.
Such factors may have prompted some multiracial people, who would normally indicate on the census form that they are white, black or another race, instead chose Asians, Ong said.
“When this happens, multiracial people go in two directions: they renounce their minority identity or accept it,” Ong said. “With the rise of anti-Asian hostility, this has forced some racial Asians to choose a single identity.”
Another factor that could have contributed to the list of Asians is the fact that young adult Asians are more likely to attend college than other racial or ethnic groups: 58% compared to 42% or less for young people of other races or ethnicities. This may have led to them being counted twice, on campuses and in the parental homes where they went. after the closure of colleges and universities because of the pandemic.
In 2020, UCLA junior Lauren Chen spent most of her first year at home in Mesa, Arizona. Her father included Chen in the census form, although the Census Bureau rules stated that she had to be enrolled in school. Chen has no idea if she was considered twice.
“UCLA was overwhelmed with attempts to figure out how to deliver people their belongings. … It was a very dirty moment, and I don’t think I knew anyone who received mail or anything like that, “Chen said. “(Census) – this is definitely what I noticed, especially given how my dad focused on it.”
Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP. Tan reported from Phoenix and is a member of the Associated Press’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ttangAP.
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