Throughout 2020, media reports, statements issued by public officials and by community organizations, remarks made at rallies, and social media postingshave frequently cited the rise of white supremacists, the repeated use of stigmatizing language like “Kung flu” and “China virus” during the pandemic, as well as long-standing negative stereotypes of Asian and Asian American people among factors contributing to the sudden increase in anti-Asian hate incidents. However, these factors do not adequately explain the most recent spike in anti-Asian assaults in major cities, which happened during a period of the rapid roll out of COVID-19 vaccination programs and the gradual re-opening of the public sphere. In addition, as identified in various media reports, a good number of perpetrators of anti-Asian physical assaults during the last three months were non-White.
The spike in anti-Asian hate incidents during the first four months of 2021 coincided with the increase in violent crimes, homelessness, and the prevalence of mental disorder in several major cities. As reported in New York, 11 out of the 23 people arrested for assaulting and harassing Asian people in New York City since January have either admitted to having a diagnosed mental illness or had been arrested for a prior outburst where their mental status was questioned. Further investigations would be needed to determine the correlations, if any, of crime, homelessness, and mental illness with the surge in anti-Asian hate incidents.
There is a general lack of information on the individuals involved in acts of anti-Asian hate. From hate crime reporting to research studies, having reliable data as well as knowledge on who the perpetrators are and what, in their own views, have motivated their acts of hate would be informative to finding solutions to problems.
In the context of the deepening political division in the country, efforts to stop anti-Asian hate should involve less political rhetoric and more reasoned discussions that focus on targeted interventions to insure safety and sense of security among many Asian families as well as their faith in government that works. At the same time, there should be longer-term strategies toward enhancing understanding and race relations for future generations of Americans in the spirit of restoring America’s soul and strengths.
2020 Election Asian Voter Turnout
As polling and data analysts have finally examined actual voter files from the 2020 election, Jennifer Rubin writes in her recent opinion piece in The Washington Post that some of the findings confirm what have previously been known: the decline of non-college-educated Whites as a percentage of the electorate (from 51 percent in 2008 to 44 percent in 2020); the record-high gender gap; and GOP inroads among Hispanics. However, the biggest 2020 election surprise was the surge in participation and influence of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters, which the initial post-election analysis failed to uncover.
TargetSmart, a political data analytics firm, recently released the findings of their 2020 election voter analysis. Of the 154.5 million voter records compiled, just over 4 million or 2.6% of all ballots cast are Asian American. Compared to the 2016 presidential election, the total number of ballots cast by AAPI voters increased by over 47%, while the total turnout for all other voters increased by only 12%. It is worth noting that almost half (49.4%) of all AAPI voters in 2020 did not vote in 2016.
TargetSmart’s analysis confirms that AAPI voters made a big difference in key battleground states such as Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. For example, AAPI turnout in Georgia increased by almost 62,000 votes over 2016. Meanwhile, Biden carried the state by fewer than 12,000 votes. Arizona and Nevada also enjoyed a surge in AAPI voting.
Another political data analytics firm Catalist points out in its recent 2020 election report that young, non-White voters fueled Biden’s victory over Trump. Biden voters were 61% White (32% non-college and 29% college) and 39% non-White (20% Black, 12% Hispanic, 5% AAPI, and 2% other). Trump voters were 85% White (58% non-college and 27% college) and 15% non-White (2.5% Black, 8% Hispanic, 2.5% AAPI, and 2% other). AAPI voters delivered a 67% vote share to the Biden-Harris ticket, largely consistent with past elections.
Turnout rates in 2020 were higher than in the 2016 election for non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic race and origin groups.
The largest increase was for non-Hispanic Asians. Of the non-Hispanic Asian citizen voting-age population, 59 percent reported voting in 2020, compared to 49 percent in 2016. Non-Hispanic Asian registration saw a large increase as well: 64%, compared to 56% in 2016.
The table below provides a statistical overview of Asian American voter participation in the 2020 presidential election in the U.S. and in the top 25 states with the largest Asian population. Asian voters made up 5+ percent of the state electorate in 10 of these states. With a higher than 40% growth rate of the Asian population during the past decade, Asian voters in Texas, Massachusetts, Oregon, North Carolina, and Arizona will likely reach the 5% threshold in the next few years.
Brookings Institution (May 20)
There has been much speculation about the impact that COVID-19 has had on population changes across the country since the pandemic began in the early part of 2020. This report examines annual population changes for metropolitan areas and core counties resulting from moves from large metropolitan areas to smaller ones, and from cities to suburbs, a marked downturn in immigration to the U.S., reductions in the number of births and rising number of deaths.
Virulent Hate Project at the University of Michigan (May 2021)
To understand trends in coronavirus-related, anti-Asian racism, the project reviewed 4,337 news articles published between January 1 and December 31, 2020. 1,023 incidents of anti-Asian racism were identified, which included 679 incidents of anti-Asian harassment and vandalism and 344 incidents of stigmatizing and discriminatory statements, images, policies, and proposals.
This report covers the 6,603 incident reports to Stop AAPI Hate from March 19, 2020 to March 31, 2021. The number of hate incidents reported increased significantly from 3,795 to 6,603 during March 2021.
McKinsey (May 6, 2021)
This article provides a series of charts based on survey data from McKinsey’s latest Women in the Workplace report, created in partnership with LeanIn.Org, to underscore the current challenges that Asian American workers are experiencing and to chart a path forward to help support them.
Brookings Institution (May 5)
2020’s Turnout showed distinct increases from 2016 among Asian American, Latino or Hispanic, and non-college white voters. The voting spike occurred across both Democratic-leaning demographic groups and Republican-leaning ones. In particular, there was a noticeable increase in voting among white adults who did not graduate from college (the so-called “non-college white” group).
Hispanic adults (84%) are more likely than Black (78%), Asian (68%) or White (64%) adults to say that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country legally. About half (51%) of Hispanic adults, and a similar share of Black adults (47%), say that undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements should be eligible to apply for citizenship. White (40%) and Asian (37%) adults are somewhat less likely to say this.
The Asian American Institute for Public Policy (AAIPP) is a national, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing equality and full participation for Asian Americans. It works to amplify Asian American voice and thought leadership to address community concerns and to contribute pragmatic solutions to vital social, economic, and political issues in America. Through an inclusive perspective and a politically balanced approach, AAIPP seeks to promote reasoned dialogue and informed policy discourse that is guided by empirical research and critical analysis.