Asian American-Pacific Islander Report Series Launched

UCR research project featured in Washington, D.C., think tank initiative

Karthick Ramakrishnan

Karthick Ramakrishnan

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — People of color will be in the majority in the United States by mid-century, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are a significant factor in the nation’s changing demographics. As a group, they are beginning to flex political muscle and influence policymakers on topics ranging from education and immigration reform to health care and the environment.

But the lack of centralized and accessible data has, until now, created a large knowledge gap about this fast-growing and influential group. On Wednesday, April 23, the Center for American Progress (CAP) will introduce a new report series, “The State of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” which will include research and analysis from AAPI Data, a project at the University of California, Riverside.

Discussion of the report series, the most comprehensive of its kind ever produced for  Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, will be livestreamed from the center’s Washington, D.C., headquarters beginning at 6 a.m. PDT and can be viewed here.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, a UC Riverside political science professor who will join the faculty of the UCR School of Public Policy this summer, will present research briefs on demographics and public opinion co-authored with CAP policy analyst Farah Z. Ahmad. Ramakrishnan is founder of AAPI Data and directs the National Asian American Survey.

“This report on ‘The State of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,’ authored jointly by UCR and the Center for American Progress, is exactly the kind of research that the School of Public Policy will conduct and promote – evidence-based, analytically rigorous research that informs and shapes public policies at all levels of government,” said Anil Deolalikar, dean of the School of Public Policy.

Ramakrishnan said partnering with the Center for American Progress is a natural fit with his research of the last several years, which has focused on building capacity for data-gathering and analysis of this rapidly growing population group.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are quickly reaching the critical mass needed to be politically relevant, but data about this group has often not been available or presented in a way that is accessible to policymakers, journalists and community-based organizations, said Sono Shah, a Ph.D. student in political science who works with Ramakrishnan on the AAPI Data project.

“Previously when scholars and researchers wanted access to research and reports on the Asian American-Pacific Islander community there was no central place to access that information,” he said. “If you could access information, it was typically in dense, academic formats and not easily digestible.”

AAPI Data gathers and analyzes data from the Census, American Community Survey, and academic researchers and organizations, and presents it in user-friendly formats. The primary goal of AAPI Data is to make such data and research more accessible and centrally available. Ramakrishnan explained that he saw the need for such a resource a few years ago, soon after getting involved with the National Asian American Survey.

“People used to say that there was very little data on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” he said.  “Now, we seem to have an opposite problem, where researchers are producing a lot of data and research, but the information is known only to specialists in particular fields.”

Introducing the launch of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders report series on April 23 will be:  Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress; Kiran Ahuja, executive director, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; Daphne Kwok, chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Commission; James A. Ferg-Cadima, regional counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF); and Ramakrishnan. Vanessa Cárdenas, vice president of Progress 2050, will serve as moderator.

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