A series of reports on Asian American and Pacific Islanders was released this year, 2014, by the Center for American Progress and AAPI Data. The report provides comprehensive data and analysis on several topics, including public opinion, education, and immigration. Here is a breakdown on the civic engagement section of the report.
According to their data, Asian Americans are continuing to be a larger part of the electorate. The doubling of Asian American voters in the last decade has increased their share of the voting population to 2.9 percent. The percentage is higher when looking at states such as Hawaii (50 percent) and California (10 percent).
Although the Asian American electorate is growing, voter participation in this racial group is lower compared to others. “Even as Asian immigrants continue to be among the fastest to naturalize among eligible immigrants,” say authors Karthick Ramakrishnan and Farad Z. Ahmad, “the relatively high number of recent immigrants in this group means that their eligibility to vote is less than most other racial groups.”
Voter registration is also noticeably lower for AAPIs. Whites and African Americans have a 73 percent registration percentage rate, while Asian Americans are sitting at 56 percent and Pacific Islanders at 58 percent. This explains the voter turnout for the 2012 presidential election, as Asian Americans (47 percent) were less likely to vote as whites (64 percent) and African Americans (66 percent). The report revealed that naturalized citizens were more likely to vote than native-born citizens, but this is mainly due to the age gap. AAPIs born in the United States were, on average, 13 years younger than foreign immigrants.
An important note to keep in mind is that the AAPI group represents a large diversity of national origins. Breaking it down, groups such as Japanese Americans and Indian Americans had a higher voter percentage than others such as Chinese Americans and Korean Americans. “Only 40 percent of Laotian American registered voters turned out to vote,” reported the authors, “compared to more than 85 percent of Indian Americans, Japanese Americans, and Hmong Americans.”
The lower AAPI voter turnout could partly be attributed to this group receiving little election-related contact. The 2012 AAPI Post-Election Survey revealed that “only 31 percent of Asian Americans and 26 percent of Pacific Islanders were contacted about the November election.” Community organizations were shown to play a vital role in contacting Asian Americans; 20 percent of Asian Americans contacted by community organizations said that they received no communication from either the Republican or Democratic Party.
As one of these community organizations, APAPA seeks to continue increasing the AAPI voter turnout in upcoming elections. We hope to register more voters at our 2014 Voters Education & Candidates Forum on September 27, 2014. Learn more at: 2014votersforum.splashthat.com.
View the report here