Asian-Americans are people having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, those who identify only as Asian-American comprise 3.6 percent of the American population, approximately 10 million individuals. The Census Bureau projects that the AsianAmerican population will grow to 37.6 million individuals by the year 2050, comprising 9.3 percent of the population. Asian-American populations are generally concentrated in the western states, the Northeast, and parts of the South. The states with the greatest concentration of Asian Americans are Hawaii, California, Washington, New Jersey and New York.
Asian-Americans represent a wide variety of languages, dialects, and cultures as different from one another as from non-Asian groups. Asian-Americans have historically been overlooked due to the “myth of the model minority”: the erroneous notion that Asian-Americans are passive, compliant, and without problems or needs. The effects of this myth have been the failure to take seriously the very real concerns of this population.
Asian-Americans represent both extremes of socioeconomic and health indices: while more than a million Asian-Americans live at or below the federal poverty level, Asian-American women have the highest life expectancy of any other group. Asian-Americans suffer disproportionately from certain types of cancer, tuberculosis, and Hepatitis B. Factors contributing to poor health outcomes for Asian-Americans include language and cultural barriers, stigma associated with certain conditions, and lack of health insurance.
For more details about Asian-American populations, see U.S. Census 2000 Brief: The Asian Population.
Ten Leading Causes of Death in the U.S. in 2002 for Asian-Americans or Pacific Islanders:
2. Heart disease
4. Unintentional injuries
6. Influenza and pneumonia
7. Chronic lower respiratory disease
9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis
Source: Health, U.S., 2004, Table 31.
In addition, Asian-Americans have disproportionately high prevalence of the following conditions and risk factors: