What Are Some Prominent Asian American Issues? Skip to main content

The rapidly expanding group of Asian Americans in the U.S. deal with numerous issues often sidelined in broader discussions.

Their challenges include problems related to society, economy, politics, and culture. They have deep roots in historical biases and unfair systems, which affect the community in many ways. Tackling these challenges demands giving attention to their experiences and the systemic hurdles they confront.

In this discussion, we’ll explore key issues that Asian Americans face today.

Racial Discrimination and Hate Crimes

Asian Americans often experience racial discrimination and stereotypes in their everyday lives. One common stereotype is the model minority myth, which portrays them as universally successful and academically gifted.

However, this overlooks the diverse experiences and challenges within the Asian American community. It also creates tensions between different racial groups and puts pressure on them to meet unrealistic expectations. As a result, many of them face stress and mental health issues.

According to Stop AAPI Hate, nearly 3,800 incidents were reported in about a year during the pandemic. Many of these cases included verbal harassment and physical assaults.

On January 23, a tragic incident unfolded in Half Moon Bay, California, where a gunman attacked two businesses, resulting in seven fatalities and one person critically injured. The victims comprised five Chinese citizens and two Latinos.

Immigration and Citizenship Issues

Immigration remains a central issue for many Asian Americans, with policies affecting family reunification, visa availability, and the status of undocumented immigrants.

These challenges disrupt families, causing extended separations and casting doubt on their residency status in the United States.

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin reveals significant backlogs for Asian countries, especially India and China, with some categories facing waits of up to decades for a green card.

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, brought attention to immigration issues when he publicly disclosed his undocumented immigrant status. Originally from the Philippines, Vargas was brought to the U.S. as a child, yet his status remained unchanged.

Economic Disparities

Economic inequality is a growing issue within the Asian American community. It has the highest income disparity of any racial group in the United States.

While the model minority stereotype suggests success for all, economic disparities persist among Asian Americans. Issues such as income inequality, underemployment, and barriers to upward mobility affect various ethnic subgroups differently.

Asian Americans have the highest poverty rate in New York City, with certain subgroups experiencing poverty rates as high as 29.1%, according to the Asian American Federation.

According to Pew Research Center’s report, Indian American households have a median income of approximately $100,000, whereas Burmese American households have a median income of around $44,400, highlighting the wide economic disparities that exist within the Asian American population.

Mental Health Stigma and Access to Care

Asian Americans face health disparities that often go unnoticed, partly due to the lack of disaggregated data. Issues such as limited access to culturally competent healthcare, language barriers, and a higher rate of certain diseases within subgroups of the Asian American population contribute to these disparities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that certain Asian subgroups, such as Filipino, Vietnamese, and Korean Americans, have higher rates of cancer compared to non-Hispanic whites.

Yuna Kim, an Olympic figure skater, bravely spoke about her battle with depression and the stigma attached to mental health in Asian cultures. Her openness helps break down barriers and encourages others in her community to seek support for their mental well-being.

Education Inequities

Though Asian Americans overall achieve high levels of education, disparities exist within the community. Refugees and immigrants from specific countries encounter obstacles like language barriers and limited access to quality education. This greatly affects their academic success and opportunities in the U.S.

According to the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE), disaggregated data show significant educational attainment gaps among Asian subgroups, with 72% of East Asians and 54% of South Asians holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 27% of Southeast Asians and 18% of Pacific Islanders.

Representation and Media Portrayal

The lack of stereotypical portrayal of Asian Americans in media and entertainment persists as a grave issue. This not only affects public perceptions but also has a real-world impact on the community’s self-identity and how individuals are treated in society.

Vice President Kamala Harris, of South Asian descent, made history with her election, challenging the underrepresentation of Asian Americans in political leadership.

The success of movies like “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Minari,” a film about a Korean American family, contributed to better representation of Asian Americans in Hollywood. These films not only achieved commercial success but also played important roles in challenging stereotypes and displaying the diversity of Asian American experiences.

Addressing Anti-Asian Racism in Education

Educational curricula often overlook Asian American history and contributions, which maintains stereotypes and ignorance.

However, efforts to include Asian American studies in schools are increasing, aiming to provide a more accurate portrayal of American history and recognize the significant role of Asian Americans.


The issues facing Asian Americans are complex and many. They demand collaborative action from both within and outside the community.

From fighting racial discrimination and hate crimes to tackling mental health stigma and other disparities. Despite the obstacles being countless, there is a need to advocate for policy changes.

Efforts should be made to resolve these critical issues and enhance the well-being of Asian Americans nationwide. If you find yourself unable to address personal challenges independently, we offer the convenience of book psychologist appointment with licensed psychologists through our Online Therapy Professionals Services.

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