January 30, 2020

2020 Census and Beyond: Planning and Visualization Tool for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been the fastest growing racial groups in the country, and the 2020 Census is expected to show continued rapid population gains. At the same time, the Census Bureau’s research has also shown that Asian Americans are the racial group least familiar with the Census, and the ones most reluctant to participate. Given these twin dynamics, it is more essential than ever for philanthropy, government, industry, and academia to go “all in” and ensure a complete and accurate count among AAPI communities.

AAPI Data and AAPIP are excited to release a simple, yet powerful, mapping tool to help journalists, decision-makers, and community organizations better understand the diversity and geographic settlement patterns of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. This tool, available at provides detailed census-tract level maps for the 20 largest metropolitan areas for Asian Americans in the United States. For each tract, users can see the largest Asian American or Pacific Islander resident group, as well as get more information on the population size and share of 21 Asian American and 6 Pacific Islander detailed origin groups.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this mapping tool, to help the work of policy makers and community organizations alike,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, director of AAPI Data and professor of public policy at the University of California, Riverside. “This work is in line with AAPI Data’s goals of taking a complexity of data and making them as simple and accessible as possible.”

“This mapping tool helps foundations bring local AAPI communities into sharper focus and to help hone their strategies to ensure that these communities are fully included in the Census efforts and beyond,” said Pat Eng, President & CEO of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP).  “The tool will spark conversations across the country through AAPIP chapters, engaging philanthropic institutions, giving circles, and community organizations toward a complete count. Let’s see the people while we count!”

Sunny Shao, a political science PhD student at UC Riverside and researcher at AAPI Data, took the lead in developing the mapping tool. “It was a wonderful opportunity for me to hone my mapping skills using ArcGIS, and to help our communities in the process,” Shao noted. ArcGIS is a geographic information system for working with maps and geographic information maintained by Esri, the world’s leader in geographic information systems.

AAPIP and AAPI Data hope that the mapping tool will be helpful well beyond the 2020 Census, as communities engage in important conversations with public officials, nonprofit foundations, and businesses to make investments and enact policies that benefit the diverse and rapidly growing community of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

AAPI Data is a nationally recognized publisher of demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, with hundreds of news mentions in national and local outlets. Its reputation is built on data and research that is accurate, compelling, and timely. In addition to our news impact, community organizations, government agencies, and decisionmakers regularly reach out to us, to better understand key aspects of AAPI communities.

AAPIP is a national membership organization dedicated to expanding and mobilizing philanthropic and community resources for underserved AAPI communities to build a more just and equitable society. Its core members include staff and trustees of foundations and other grantmaking entities as well as individual donors and philanthropy-serving professionals.  In addition, AAPIP supports 10 regional chapters around the country in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Washington DC. These chapters are centers for place-based advocacy, information sharing, leadership development and network building around AAPI issues and philanthropy.


Karthick Ramakrishnan​​​​​​​​​​

(951) 827-5540

Patricia Eng

​​​​​​(347) 414-0031