Representing over 50 nations of origin, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are ethnically, linguistically, and culturally varied. Yet despite this broad diversity, our research finds one thing in common among AAPI people: extreme under-representation in elected office.
AAPI people are
6.1% of the US population
AAPI elected officials are
0.9% of US elected leaders
(as of mid-2020)
I applaud the Reflective Democracy Campaign for releasing this important report that helps demonstrate the woeful lack of AAPI representation in government, and I’ll continue working to make sure that everyone in our country has a seat at the table.Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL)
US’s Fastest-Growing Demographic Is Also Its Worst Represented
The “model minority” stereotype applied to Asian Americans masks an ironic truth: When it comes to holding elected office, AAPI people have a lower degree of representation than any other demographic.
Differential in political representation relative to population numbers
Even in states with high AAPI concentrations like New York, Nevada, and California, the AAPI community is drastically under-represented in office. In fact, Hawaii is the only state whose share of AAPI elected leaders is nearly equivalent to its AAPI population share.
AAPI erasure is especially stark in the criminal justice sector. While over-policing and excessive deportation are major issues for segments of the AAPI community, the total number of AAPI elected prosecutors across the country is six, and of more than 3,000 county sheriffs, only two are AAPI.
AAPI Candidates Are Highly Electable
Despite their extreme under-representation, our data show AAPI elected officials are highly electable. And their impact is greater than their small numbers might suggest. While the first AAPI Congressmen were non-voting members from the Philippines, today’s AAPI leaders include bold, influential figures like Senator Mazie Hirono (HI), Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL), Congressman Ted Lieu (CA), and Kamala Harris, America’s first AAPI Vice President.
In the Media
Voters, regardless of party identification, really want to see reflective leadership,” said Brenda Choresi Carter, the director of the Campaign, which tracks the diversity of elected officials. “Political power has been concentrated in the hands of white men in the United States since the very beginning. And I think we are seeing the limitations of that.“Asian Americans are the least likely to hold elected office.” POLITICO
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are ‘extremely’ underrepresented in elected office across the nation, according to a new report from the Reflective Democracy Campaign…. The report comes out amid a rise in anti-Asian racism and violence over the past year.“Asian Americans are severely underrepresented in US elected office.” HuffPost