Hmong National Development Dismayed by Pew Report

The following text is from a press release issued today by HND:

Hmong National Development (HND) is extremely concerned with the Pew Research Center’s (PRC) report on Asian Americans released yesterday.

In “The Rise of Asian Americans”, the PRC purports that the study is a “comprehensive portrait of Asian Americans” (p. 3). Their sample, however, was comprised mainly of individuals from the top six Asian ethnic populations in the United States: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese Americans.

Hmong, Lao and Cambodian communities, among others, are not represented in the sample.  The exclusion of these communities from a study which intends to paint a comprehensive portrait of Asian Americans is unacceptable.

It is particularly alarming when the highlights of the report suggest that in comparison to other races, Asian Americans are the most educated, wealthiest, happiest and face the least discrimination in America.

HND’s work in Hmong communities across the country and our own analysis of 2010 Census data reveal that across all racial and ethnic groups, Hmong Americans have some of the lowest rates of educational attainment and highest rates of poverty in the country. While 85% of the general population has a high school degree or higher, this rate is only 62% for Hmong Americans.

Similarly, 28% of Americans have a Bachelor’s degree, whereas for Hmong this rate is only 14%. Further, while 1 in 10 families in the U.S. live in poverty, this rate is 1 in 4 for Hmong families.

These statistics paint a picture that is glaringly different than the image of Asian Americans portrayed by the PRC report.

HND President/CEO Bao Vang stated, “Research on Asian Americans that does not include Hmong or other recent Southeast Asian communities negates the refugee and migration experiences we have endured. Our experiences are markedly different from other Asian American ethnic groups, including Vietnamese, depending on pre-migration factors such as prior education level. The issues facing our communities are erased when reports such as the Pew Research Center’s suggest that poverty and racism are a thing of the past for Asian Americans.”

While the PRC’s report highlights several important trends in migration patterns and population statistics, we cannot ignore the fact that the exclusion of several Southeast Asian ethnic communities from the sample paints a false picture of what the current status is of Asian Americans today.

HND continues to advocate for the disaggregation of Asian American Pacific Islander ethnic data, as well as the inclusion of Hmong samples in research studies.

HND will be releasing our report on the current state of Hmong Americans, which analyzes 2010 Census data, later this year.

About Hmong National Development  Hmong National Development, Inc. (HND) is a national, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization whose mission is to empower the Hmong community to achieve prosperity and equality through education, research, policy advocacy and leadership development. Founded in 1993, HND is the leading national policy advocacy organization for the Hmong American community. For the past 19 years, HND has provided local Hmong non-profits with capacity building and technical assistance tools, advocated for legislation which impacts our communities, cultivated leadership in youth through internship programs and youth empowerment models, and most notably are recognized for our Hmong National Development Conference.