Washington, D.C. — Asian American and Pacific Islander, or AAPI, women are vital to the American economy, participating in the labor force at rates near or above the average for U.S. women overall. Yet within the AAPI community—which includes more than 50 ethnic groups and 100 languages—there are vastly diverse economic, educational, and occupational backgrounds and challenges. These differences are often hidden by aggregate data that combine all ethnicities of AAPI women.
Today, the Center for American Progress released a new fact sheet offering a snapshot of the economic diversity within the AAPI community, including the unique challenges facing key subpopulations within the AAPI community. Although data that combine all ethnicities of AAPI women can make it seem that AAPI women are generally better off economically than other groups, it is important to consider what the overall numbers obscure.
“The Asian American and Pacific Islander community is vastly diverse, and the economic challenges that women within this community face are not monolithic,” said Shilpa Phadke, Senior Director of the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress. “Aggregate data do not tell the complete story of the unique challenges that women in key subsets of the AAPI community experience, nor do they provide policymakers with the information necessary to make fully informed policy decisions.”
For instance, in 2014, Asian American women were paid, on average, 84 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. However, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women made just 62 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in 2014. Furthermore, the wage gap for Asian American women varies widely among key subpopulations: In 2014, Vietnamese women were paid, on average, just 62 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, while Japanese American women made 94 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
As policymakers craft policies to address the economic challenges facing women and families, it is important that they consider the unique challenges that women of all races and ethnicities face, including AAPI women. To that end, policymakers need robust data on key subpopulations within the AAPI community to make informed policy decisions. A 2014 report by the Center for American Progress recommended that the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal statistical agencies continue researching more ways to capture subpopulation data, including national origin, and called on the federal government to generate disaggregated data in addition to its aggregated data whenever possible.
Read the fact sheet: Asian American and Pacific Islander Women in the U.S. Economy by Kaitlin Holmes and Shilpa Phadke
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.478.5328.