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Asian American / Pacific Islander

Asian American and Pacific Islanders (APIs) are a diverse population whose heritages represent more than 50 ethnic groups and over 100 languages.

One of the fastest growing groups in the nation, APIs comprised 5.4 percent of the U.S. population in 2006, compared to 1.5 percent in 1980. Two factors playing important roles in this growth were changes in restrictive immigration laws in 1965 and refugee resettlment after the Vietnam War ended in 1975.

APIs have made enormous contributions to the civic, cultural, and economic fabric of America, but many have faced discrimination and stereotyping throughout U.S. history, including the stereotype of being seen by some as "perpetual foreigners" no matter how long their families have lived in the United States.

This idea of foreignness helped lead to the unconstitutional Japanese American internment program as well as laws lasting well into the 20th century restricting immigration and citizenship. Today, the stereotype can still make a child feel as though he or she does not "fit in" at school.

APIs also face the challenge of the "model minority" myth, which inaccurately portrays (often using aggregate income, educational attainment, or test data) all APIs as uniformly doing well when there are large differences in average income, educational attainment, and other socioeconomic characteristics among API ethnic groups.

The model minority myth is particularly dangerous since the idea of uniform achievement can divert resources from individual communities that may face disadvantages and challenges as a result of unique historical circumstances, including Southeast Asian, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander communities.


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    The schools receiving the first grants as Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions
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    NEA leaders had a chance to hear firsthand from members of the Asian Pacific Islander community about education issues that directly affect them.
The API community faces educational issues similar to other minority groups, including the need for adequate funding for schools serving minority and disadvantaged students
Reducing language barriers in attaining social services, including education and health care
How much do you know about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders?


  • This is Why We Are
  • anc_dyn_linksAsians/Pacific Islanders: Community Issues