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Asian American & Pacific Islander Communities: An Untapped Political Bloc?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Here in the Bay Area we have a large and diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander Community—Asian Americans make up 24% of the Bay Area population vs. less than 6% nationwide. It’s hard to imagine this cultural community not being a strong political bloc. However, despite having the numbers, research suggests that the AAPI community is an untapped political bloc.

An article published at the beginning of this year by think tank Third Way concluded that “Asian Americans represent a swath of untapped political power—and courting them can pave the way to victory in both local and national elections.”

Consider this: In 2012, only 47% of Asian Americans voted in the presidential election—compared to 66% of black voters, 64% of non-Hispanic white voters, and 48% of Hispanic voters. And fewer Asian Americans are registered to vote (56%) than Hispanics (59%), blacks (73%), or non-Hispanic whites (73%).

Low rates of Asian American electoral participation may be the result of less experience with partisan politics as a community. Three-quarters (74%) of Asian Americans are foreign-born, compared to 16% of the general public. In the 2008 National Asian American Survey, 79% of recent Asian immigrants said they were politically Independent or uncommitted. But among those who had been in the U.S. for 25 or more years, that figure fell to 48%.

Read Third Way’s full article The Untapped Political Power of Asian Americans on their website.

What Can Grantmakers Do?

If you’re curious to learn more about the political opportunities for AAPI communities and discover new tools for civic engagement—then you’re in luck!

Featuring speakers from the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Chinese Progressive Association, Korean Resource Center, and Filipino Advocates for Justice, NCG’s upcoming program Building Power in Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities on July 23rd will provide an overview of the political opportunities facing the Asian American/Pacific Islander communities and offer a deep analysis of the evolution of organizing in AAPI communities.

Learn more and register for Building Power in Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities.