CDC Celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage
May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month!In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869. In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a month long celebration.
During the observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we celebrate the cultural traditions, ancestry, native languages and unique experiences represented among more than 47 ethnic groups from Asia and the Pacific Islands (speaking more than 100 languages) who live in the United States. We also recognize millions of AAPIs whose love of family, hard work and community has helped unite us as a people and sustain us as a Nation.
AAPIs represent one of the fastest-growing and most diverse populations in the United States. According to the 2003 President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Report to the President and the Nation, AAPIs comprise many populations that make critically important contributions to American life. Their communities often are described as a "model minority" that generally enjoys superior health status. In reality, however, the AAPI population experiences genuine health disparities in cancer screening, diabetes and infectious diseases, among others.
Asian AmericansAsian Americans represent the extremes of both socioeconomic and health indices:
- Asian American women experience the greatest life expectancy (85.8 years) of any other ethnic group in the U.S.
- Asian Americans have the highest proportion of college graduates of any racial or ethnic group (50.2% of Asian Americans have a bachelor's degree, compared with 28% of the total population).
- Asian Americans contend with numerous factors which may threaten their health, including infrequent medical visits due to the fear of deportation, language/cultural barriers, and the lack of health insurance.
- Asian Americans are at a greater risk for: cancer, heart disease, stroke, unintentional injuries (accidents), and diabetes.
- Asian Americans also have a high prevalence and risk factors for: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, smoking, tuberculosis, and liver disease.
- In 2008, Asian American women (ages 18+) were least likely to have had a Pap test (65.1%) compared with other racial/ethnic women (non-Hispanic white: 74.9%, non-Hispanic black: 80.0%, Hispanic/Latino: 75.4%, American Indian/Alaska Native: 69.4%).
- In 2005, AAPIs aged 40 years and older were 1.2 times more likely to have Hepatitis B (3.5 per 100,000) than non-Hispanic whites (2.9).
Native Hawaiian & Other Pacific IslandersThe U.S.-associated Pacific Island Jurisdictions comprises three Flag Territories:
- American Samoa
- the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)
- The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)
- The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)
- The Republic of Palau
It is significant to note that in comparison to other ethnic groups, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders have higher rates of smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity. Major causes of premature death among Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders are obesity, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders experience important health disparities, here are a few examples:
- The 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers for Native Hawaiians is 47%, compared with 57% for whites and 55% for all races.
- In 2002, the infant mortality rate for Native Hawaiians was 9.6 per 1,000 live births, higher than the rate for all AAPIs combined (4.8), and for all populations (7.0).
- National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ~ May 19th
- Health Disparities in HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs, & TB: Asians
- Health Disparities in HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs, & TB: Native Hawaiians & Other Pacific Islanders
- Chronic Hepatitis B and Asian & Pacific Islanders
- Diabetes Public Health Resource, Continuing Education, Capacity Building for Diabetes Outreach
- Health, United States, 2010 - Asian or Pacific Islander Population
- FastStats - Health of Asian or Pacific Islander Population
- Healthy People 2010 - Snapshot for the Asian Population [PDF 224KB]
- Sociodemographic Maps - Asian & Pacific Islander
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
Office of Minority Health (OMH)
- National Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month - May
- HHS Plan for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Health
- Asian American Profile
- Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders Profile
- HHS, OMH, Immunizations and Asians and Pacific Islanders
Other Federal Government
- White House Presidential Proclamation
- White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
- White House Executive Order 13515 - Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Federal Program [PDF 132KB]
- U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Features: Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, May 2012
- U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Census Briefs, The Asian Population: 2010 [PDF 6.42MB]
- U.S. Census Bureau, Population Profile, Educational Attainment in 2005 [PDF 165KB]
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Asian American and Pacific Islander – Primer
- Asian Americans and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ~ May 19
- HealthCare.gov, The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders
- ASPE Research Brief, The ACA and Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders