Economic Policy


Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders face challenges in healthcare, housing security, and employment

The Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community is among one the fastest growing populations within the United States. Similar to African American and Latino communities, the AANHPI community also has disparities in healthcare, employment, and house security. AANHPI is a community of different cultures, ethnicities, languages, and backgrounds. Thus, current and future policies and programs must be improved upon and/or developed to address the needs of this diverse population.

In a recent report from Asian Americans Advancing Justice, AANHPI communities in the Northeast face barriers to accessing healthcare, achieving housing security, and attaining meaningful jobs.

Key findings:

  • Disproportionately impacted by disease (diabetes, liver and bile cancer, TB, Hep B) and face barriers to accessing care (high uninsured rate, least likely of all racial groups to have regular checkups)
  • Between 2007-2011, the number of Asian Americans living below the poverty line grew 52% in Philadelphia and 32% in the New York MSA
  • Barriers to achieving housing security: 37% of Bangladeshi American households in the New York MSA, 34% of Cambodian American households in Philadelphia, and 32% of Vietnamese American households in Boston are severely rent burdened, spending 50% or more of their incomes on rent


  • Outreach and educate Asian American and NHPI communities about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act so they can benefit from the expanded availability of health insurance
  • Preserve and expand access to social safety-net programs and invest in culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach and education to growing immigrant communities
  • Federal, state, and local agencies and the private sector should expand affordable housing and homeownership opportunities

Joanne Chan, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Harvard School of Public Health