Jennifer Chau, director of the Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander For Equity Coalition, at her office Friday, April 8, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) ROSS D. FRANKLIN AP

Asian population overcount masks community nuances

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s report card on how accurately it counted the U.S. population in 2020, it showed that Asians were overcounted at a higher rate than any other group. White residents were overcounted by 0.6%, and white residents who aren’t Hispanic were overcounted by 1.6%. The Black population was undercounted by 3.3%, those who identified as some other race had a 4.3% undercount, almost 5% of the Hispanic population was missed and more than 5.6% of American Indians living on reservations were undercounted.

Some of the growth of the Asian population in the U.S. in the 2020 census may be rooted in the fluidity of how some people, particularly those who are biracial or multiracial, report their identity on the census form, said CNK Director Paul Ong. “People change their identity from one survey to another, and this is much more prevalent among those who are multiracial or biracial,” Ong said.

Conversations about declaring one’s Asian background are especially meaningful given the anti-Asian hate brought on by the pandemic. Such factors may have led some multiracial people who ordinarily would have indicated on the census form that they were white, Black, or some other race to instead select Asian, Ong said. “When that happens, people who are multiracial go in two directions: They reject their minority identity or they embrace it,” Ong said. “With the rise of anti-Asian hostility, it forced some multiracial Asians to select a single identity.”

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