The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) today announced the findings of the third annual STAATUS Index—”Social Tracking of Asian Americans in the U.S.”—the leading study examining attitudes and stereotypes towards Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the U.S. The inaugural 2021 STAATUS Index was one of the first national studies on this topic in 20 years.
The survey is a nationally representative study based on a sample of 5,235 U.S-based respondents aged 16 and over, conducted online between February 9 to March 13, 2023.
This year’s survey reveals that 1 in 2 Asian Americans feel unsafe in the U.S. and nearly 80% of Asian Americans do not completely feel they belong and are acceptDiscrimination and lack of leadership representation contribute most to Asian Americans’ lack of belonging in the U.S. Additionally, the survey revealed that young and female Asian Americans are least likely to feel they completely belong and are accepted.
Key findings of the survey are listed below, and the complete STAATUS Index is available here.
1 in 2 Asian Americans feel unsafe in the U.S.; nearly 80% of Asian Americans do not fully feel they belong and are accepted.
Discrimination and lack of leadership representation contribute most to Asian Americans’ low levels of belonging in the U.S., felt most acutely by young and female Asian Americans.
1 in 2 Asian Americans report feeling unsafe in the U.S. due to their race/ethnicity.
Asian Americans—especially young and female Asian Americans—are among the least likely of all racial groups surveyed to feel belonging and acceptance in America.
- 52% of Asian American respondents have felt uncomfortable or unsafe due to their race and ethnicity, along with 53% of Black, and 47% of Hispanic respondents, compared to 28% of white respondents.
- Asian Americans feel the least safe on public transportation (29%), followed by in their own neighborhood (19%), school (19%), workplace (17%), and their local market (17%).
- 12% of Asian American respondents feel unsafe where they vote.
Of those who do not feel like they belong
- 78% of Asian Americans do not fully feel that they belong and are accepted in the U.S., similar to Hispanic (75%) and Black (76%) respondents; and compared to 43% of white respondents.
- Younger Asian Americans (17% aged 16-24 completely agreed to the statement about belonging and acceptance) and Asian American women (19%) are less likely to feel like they belong and are accepted.
- 58% of Asian Americans say the top reason for feeling like they don’t belong is from experiencing discrimination directly due to their race.Asian Americans also say not seeing others like them in positions of power (43%) is another major reason for feeling a lack of belonging.
- Asian Americans feel like they don’t belong in the workplace (39%), in online spaces/ social media (39%), in their own neighborhoods (33%), and in schools (32%).
Americans see China as a threat; view Asian Americans in different (and sometimes contradictory) ways.
When asked what fueled anti-Asian violence:
- 83% of respondents see China as a military/national security threat, 74% as an economic threat, and 44% as a health threat.
- Older and white Americans overwhelmingly (>80%) see China as a threat.
- Contrastingly, 79% of Americans do not believe people of Chinese descent living in America pose a threat to the U.S. Respondents also overwhelmingly (87%) are comfortable with Asian Americans’ employment in jobs that involve national security.
- Yet, nearly one-third of Americans see Asian Americans as more loyal to their perceived country of origin.
- Close to one-third (31%) think Asian Americans should be subject to additional scrutiny if they work in areas considered critical to U.S. global strategic competitiveness.
- 73% of respondents say it was due to blaming Asian Americans for COVID-19.
- 47% say that it was because people see Asian Americans as foreigners rather than Americans.
- 47% believe that the Chinese government is spying on America which led to the attacks.
Americans’ openness to improving their relationship with and understanding of AAPIs signals room for progress, cross-racial solidarity, and representation.
- 64% of all respondents believe that Asian Americans are somewhat or highly inaccurately portrayed in film/TV and 61% feel NHPIs are somewhat or highly inaccurately portrayed in film/TV.
- 69% of Asian American respondents felt that they were somewhat or highly inaccurately portrayed in film/TV.
- 26% of respondents said they could not name a famous Asian American figure and 32% could not name a famous NHPI person.
- When asked to name a famous Asian American figure, top responses were: Jackie Chan (who is not American), Bruce Lee (who died 50 years ago), Kamala Harris.
- To improve their relationship with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, more than 60% of Americans would like more opportunities to interact with AAPIs and learn about their experience and history.
- 3 out of 5 Americans think that incorporating the Asian American experience into the teaching of American history is important.1 in 4 respondents thinks they share “a lot” of economic interests (26%) and core values (25%) with Asian Americans, signaling an opportunity to grow understanding & connections with AAPIs.