Archived Information

White House Initiative Launches Campaign to Increase Asian American and Pacific Islander Access, Participation in Federal Programs

Community leaders to advise federal agencies on needed services for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to provide recommendations on innovative local programs

Contact:  
Jim Bradshaw, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov


In advance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders today announced the Obama administration’s efforts to improve the lives of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities underserved by federal resources. The Initiative will collaborate with top agency officials and community leaders in roundtable discussions on education opportunities, housing, jobs, employment issues and health disparities. Experts with hands-on community experience will advise federal agencies on critical issues and share innovative models of proven success.

“We want all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to know what resources the Obama administration has available to help improve their lives,” Executive Director Kiran Ahuja said. “By building strong collaboration between federal agency officials and community leaders, we’re taking the first step towards investing in a mutually beneficial partnership to create easier access to educational opportunities and program services.”

“The President is committed to maximizing the government’s ability to address the needs of the AAPI communities through this initiative,” Chris Lu, assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary, said. “President Obama and his administration are doing everything we can to support the efforts to increase AAPI access and participation in federal programs, especially during these tough economic times.”

Like all Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are suffering severe challenges in the current economic crises. AAPIs have experienced the largest decline in homeownership of any racial group over the last year. Poverty rates, work-related injuries and job losses also have increased.

Working with Initiative co-chairs U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Ahuja has already built a strong team at the Initiative. She has enlisted many administration officials to hold dozens of events during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will discuss employment and labor issues with community leaders. Secretary Locke will hold a Web chat to discuss the Initiative’s work, and Secretary Duncan will visit a public school with a high percentage of Asian American students and a strong bilingual education program.

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NOTE: For more information about the Initiative, please visit http://aapi.gov. For a bio and photo of Kiran Ahuja, executive director, please visit http://www2.ed.gov/news/staff/bios/ahuja.html. To get more involved, please e-mail WhiteHouseAAPI@ed.gov.

WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE ON ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

TOTAL U.S.: Population is 307 million; 13.2 percent live in poverty; 4.2 percent are unemployed; 15.0 percent haven't graduated high school; 28.5 percent have only a high school degree; 28.8 percent have some college education; 17.5 percent have a bachelor's degree; 10.2 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Asian American: Population is 15.5 million; 11.8 percent live in poverty; 3.5 percent are unemployed; 14.4 percent haven't graduated high school; 16.3 percent have only a high school degree; 20.5 percent have some college education; 29.3 percent have a bachelor's degree; 19.5 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Asian Indian: Population is 2.73 million; 8.1 percent live in poverty; 3.6 percent are unemployed; 10.0 percent haven't graduated high school; 10.5 percent have only a high school degree; 11.3 percent have some college education; 31.9 percent have a bachelor's degree; 36.3 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Bangladeshi: Population is 107,728; 15.8 percent live in poverty; 3.7 percent are unemployed; 17.3 percent haven't graduated high school; 17.2 percent have only a high school degree; 16.8 percent have some college education; 27.9 percent have a bachelor's degree; 20.8 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Cambodian: Population is 240,142; 19.4 percent live in poverty; 5.9 percent are unemployed; 40.3 percent haven't graduated high school; 24.3 percent have only a high school degree; 21.4 percent have some college education; 11.0 percent have a bachelor's degree; 3.0 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Chinese: Population is 3.62 million; 11.3 percent live in poverty; 3.1 percent are unemployed; 18.9 percent haven't graduated high school; 14.6 percent have only a high school degree; 15.3 percent have some college education; 25.8 percent have a bachelor's degree; 25.3 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Filipino: Population is 3.09 million; 6.0 percent live in poverty; 3.7 percent are unemployed; 8.2 percent haven't graduated high school; 15.7 percent have only a high school degree; 30.0 percent have some college education; 37.5 percent have a bachelor's degree; 8.6 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Hmong: Population is 221,948; 23.2 percent live in poverty; 5.6 percent are unemployed; 39.6 percent haven't graduated high school; 19.8 percent have only a high school degree; 27.2 percent have some college education; 10.7 percent have a bachelor's degree; 2.7 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Indonesian: Population is 78,999; 11.0 percent live in poverty; 4.0 percent are unemployed; 5.9 percent haven't graduated high school; 17.0 percent have only a high school degree; 32.0 percent have some college education; 28.3 percent have a bachelor's degree; 16.8 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Japanese: Population is 1.3 million; 8.8 percent live in poverty; 2.9 percent are unemployed; 7.9 percent haven't graduated high school; 20.2 percent have only a high school degree; 27.0 percent have some college education; 29.8 percent have a bachelor's degree; 15.1 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Korean: Population is 1.61 million; 12.6 percent live in poverty; 3.3 percent are unemployed; 10.1 percent haven't graduated high school; 19.6 percent have only a high school degree; 21.6 percent have some college education; 32.7 percent have a bachelor's degree; 16.0 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Laotian: Population is 217,175; 12.0 percent live in poverty; 6.3 percent are unemployed; 31.6 percent haven't graduated high school; 30.0 percent have only a high school degree; 24.6 percent have some college education; 11.3 percent have a bachelor's degree; 2.6 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Pakistani: Population is 349,685; 15.0 percent live in poverty; 4.3 percent are unemployed; 14.6 percent haven't graduated high school; 14.5 percent have only a high school degree; 16.0 percent have some college education; 30.4 percent have a bachelor's degree; 24.5 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Thai: Population is 219,943; 13.8 percent live in poverty; 4.3 percent are unemployed; 16.6 percent haven't graduated high school; 16.7 percent have only a high school degree; 24.2 percent have some college education; 25.6 percent have a bachelor's degree; 17.0 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Vietnamese: Population is 1.73 million; 12.6 percent live in poverty; 3.8 percent are unemployed; 26.0 percent haven't graduated high school; 21.2 percent have only a high school degree; 23.4 percent have some college education; 20.0 percent have a bachelor's degree; 9.4 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Polynesians: Population is 610,684; 12.4 percent live in poverty; 4.8 percent are unemployed; 10.6 percent haven't graduated high school; 34.8 percent have only a high school degree; 37.6 percent have some college education; 11.5 percent have a bachelor's degree; 5.6 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Native Hawaiians: Population is 437,590; 11.0 percent live in poverty; 4.6 percent are unemployed; 8.7 percent haven't graduated high school; 35.0 percent have only a high school degree; 38.0 percent have some college education; 12.2 percent have a bachelor's degree; 6.1 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Samoans: Population is 126,194; 12.9 percent live in poverty; 4.8 percent are unemployed; 16.0 percent haven't graduated high school; 34.8 percent have only a high school degree; 37.8 percent have some college education; 7.2 percent have a bachelor's degree; 4.2 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Micronesians: Population is 149,525; 18.7 percent live in poverty; 5.9 percent are unemployed; 12.0 percent haven't graduated high school; 29.9 percent have only a high school degree; 43.0 percent have some college education; 11.2 percent have a bachelor's degree; 3.9 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

Guamanians or Chamorros: Population is 99,176; 13.0 percent live in poverty; 5.7 percent are unemployed; 10.6 percent haven't graduated high school; 29.8 percent have only a high school degree; 42.0 percent have some college education; 12.7 percent have a bachelor's degree; 4.9 percent have a graduate or professional degree.

SOURCES: 2008 American Community Survey http://factfinder.census.gov; Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008 http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/014227.html; Population estimates http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/013733.html