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AANHPI Heritage Month: An Economic Snapshot

Members of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community have many different backgrounds and experiences and play a key and growing role in the U.S. economy. Data on these diverse communities show a complex picture of successes and challenges. But investing in more detailed public data sources could help to see our fellow Americans more clearly and help to address remaining barriers to equal participation in the economy. 

The economic contributions and challenges of AANHPIs can be similar, but also very different, based on gender, national origin group, and industry 

  • AANHPIs participate in the labor force at higher rates than the national rate of 62.4%. Fully 64.5% of Asian American adults are either working or actively looking for work, and the rate for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders is even higher at 67.3%. 

  • Multiple groups fall under the AANHPI umbrella with differing economic realities, and more disaggregated data are needed to better understand obstacles facing the various AANHPI communities—whether in the labor market or in accessing capital—to develop the best policies to address these disparities. 

The wage gap experienced by Asian American workers varies by industry and national origin group. Existing data demonstrate that Asian American workers in the technology sector are paid less than their white male counterparts in the same jobs and are underrepresented in senior management roles. And Southeast Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women are especially likely to face large wage gaps. These persistent pay gaps mean they could lose over $1 million in potential wages in the course of a lifetime.  


Biden administration policies help to remove economic barriers for all AANHPI communities 

  • The Biden administration and Congressional Democrats have taken a series of important actions to help advance equity for AANHPIs. This includes passing the American Rescue Plan, which reduced poverty among AANHPI communities by nearly 22%; establishing a national strategy to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AANHPI communities; and disbursing close to $16 billion in small business loans to AANHPI entrepreneurs