Executive Summary

This is the first in a series of reports from AAPI Data and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) pertaining to data equity as it pertains to Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities. This report is a scan of publicly available information, supplemented with correspondence with community organization leaders, on past activities and current plans to advance data equity for AANHPI communities at the federal level. 

The report first defines what data equity means for our communities, researchers, and federal government agencies. Next, it provides a brief review of some recent data equity initiatives from AA and NHPI community organizations and researchers. The third section of the report covers the interagency work of prior presidential administrations that sought to advance data equity for AAs and NHPIs. The report also lays out the current state of data equity efforts at federal agencies that collect data on issues most relevant to AA and NHPI communities, establishing a baseline of knowledge to inform the next steps and future engagement with those agencies.  

Finally, the report concludes with a series of recommendations that aim to achieve large-scale impact, through the framework of “DNA: Data, Narrative, Action.” These recommendations are informed by past and ongoing efforts initiated by Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander organizations and researchers, as well as related efforts to advance data equity initiated by federal agencies. 

Moving forward, it is clear that our communities’ agenda with respect to data equity can be characterized as “disaggregation plus,” meaning that improved federal standards for data collection by detailed origins remain a high priority, but that the focus has expanded to include other important aspects of data equity such as timeliness, accessibility, human-centered design, community inclusion, and federal agency recognition of subject-matter expertise and population expertise among community organizations and researchers alike.