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Data reveal that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders experience hate incidents higher than the national average

SAN MATEO, Calif. – March 30, 2021 —  Millions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander adults have likely experienced hate crimes and hate incidents in 2020 and 2021, far greater than the few thousand who reported such incidents to community hotlines. These are the major findings of a new survey conducted by SurveyMonkey and AAPI Data between March 18 and March 26, 2021 in the wake of the Atlanta killings of several Asian American women and news reports of ongoing violence against Asian Americans.

Key findings about Asian Americans’ and Pacific Islanders’ experiences with hate crimes and discrimination include the following:

  • The proportion of Asian Americans (27%) and Pacific Islanders (24%) having ever experienced hate crimes or hate incidents is higher than the national average (22%)
  • About 10 percent of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have experienced these incidents in 2021 so far, compared to 6 percent for the national average
  • The proportion experiencing hate crimes or hate incidents in 2020 was also higher for Asian Americans (12%) and Pacific Islanders (10%) when compared to the national average (8%)

Less severe acts of racial discrimination and microaggression also show elevated levels among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

  • Having people ask “where [are] you from, assuming it’s not from the U.S.” was much higher for Asian Americans (64%) and Pacific Islanders (51%) than the national average (20%), and among non-Hispanic Whites (7%)
  • Being “encouraged to Americanize or Whiten one’s name” was also significantly higher for Pacific Islanders (27%) and Asian Americans (20%) than the national average (7%)

Black and Latinx respondents also show elevated levels on many of these, and less severe acts of racial harassment, discrimination, and microaggression. The data also show important differences by nativity, gender, and age that suggest variations in who is likely to report hate incidents to community hotlines and law enforcement authorities. Finally, although some prominent elected officials in the U.S. placed the blame on China for spreading the virus, the survey results indicate that Asian Americans across the board experienced racially-motivated abuse or property damage, regardless of whether they were of Chinese origin. 

“We are grateful for the partnership with the leadership at SurveyMonkey on moving so quickly and thoughtfully in collaborating, designing, and deploying this survey,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, founder and director of AAPI Data. “We have a much better understanding of the scale of the problem, including reluctance among many Asian American men and women to report hate incidents,” he added.

“These trends show that experiences of racial bias and hostility reported by Asian Americans emerge from a much broader environment of discrimination and racism affecting Black, Latinx, and other non-white groups in the U.S.,” said Janelle Wong, senior researcher at AAPI Data.

“A disturbingly high percentage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders reported experiencing hate crimes before the pandemic, and those numbers shot higher amid the political tumult of the past year,” said Jon Cohen, chief research officer at SurveyMonkey.

The survey findings will be discussed in a webinar today, March 30th at 2pm Pacific/5pm Eastern.

About SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is a leader in agile software solutions for customer experiencemarket research, and survey feedback. The company’s platform empowers over 20 million active users to analyze and act on feedback from employees, customers, website and app users, and market research respondents. SurveyMonkey’s products, enterprise solutions, and integrations enable more than 345,000 organizations to deliver better customer experiences, increase employee retention​ and unlock growth and innovation. Ultimately, SurveyMonkey's vision is to raise the bar for human experiences by amplifying individual voices.

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