Asian American Communities

Click on the photograph to reach the Pew Research Center report, "The Rise of Asian Americans."
Click on the photograph to reach the Pew Research Center report, “The Rise of Asian Americans.”

This article is one of a series I have posted on WordPress, “Connecting with Diverse Communities.” I began the article back in 2012, and have continued to add information.

Pew Research Center produced an insightful report in June, 2012 that everyone should read, The Rise of Asian Americans.

“Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success, according to a comprehensive new nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center.”

An important precaution is given by Pew Research against approaching Asian Americans as one monolithic group. Similar to other ethnic groups, “Asian Americans trace their roots to any of dozens of countries in the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Each country of origin subgroup has its own unique history, culture, language, religious beliefs, economic and demographic traits, social and political values, and pathways into America.”

"Meet the New Immigrants" (click for more).
“Meet the New Immigrants” (click for more).

Asian Americans have strong family values and they believe in the rewards of hard work. Their religious affiliations vary widely. Their educational attainment is higher than the overall U.S. population. Asian Americans are more satisfied than the general public with their financial situations and standard of living.

More Asian Americans favor marriage equality than do not. Overall, they tend to affiliate politically more with the Democratic party than the Republican. The largest Asian groups in terms of their populations are (in order): Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese.

There is not a great deal of information in the report about Asian Americans from a philanthropic standpoint, although in the “Homeownership, Career Success, Altruism and Leisure” section of the study, it is noted:

“When it comes to helping others in need, 28% of Asian Americans say this is one of the most important things in their lives. An additional 44% say this is very important to them but not the most important thing, and 26% say this is somewhat important. Only 2% say this is not important to them. Compared with the general public, Asian Americans are somewhat more likely to place a high priority on helping others in need (20% of all American adults say this is one of the most important things in their lives).”

Nonprofit organizations need to be paying attention to the rise of Asian American communities in the United States, and to their unique characteristics. By taking the time to understand the unique perspective of Asian Americans, the philanthropic sector could make significant headway in terms of seeking and obtaining donations.

On a personal note, our local newspaper in Austin, Texas, the Austin American-Statesman produced a telling article by Marty Toohey, “As Asian American Community Grows, Austin Looks at Diverse Needs” (September 28, 2015). “Between 1990 and 2012 … Asians grew from 3.3 percent of the population to 6.5 percent — making Asians the fastest-growing racial or ethnic segment of the city’s population, and one that will soon exceed the black population, according to City Demographer Ryan Robinson.” 

Asian American have long been a part of the Greater Austin community, but we need to better understand and appreciate them, and integrate them more fully into community philanthropy and in solving some of our City’s unique challenges.

Additional Resources

Special interest:

Middle Eastern philanthropists and charities are facing greater challenges in recent months. This article by Philip Rojc for Inside Philanthropy might be of interest, “In a Fearful Moment, This Growing Fund Channels Muslim American Philanthropy” (July 25, 2017).

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