An alarming one in two Asian Americans feel unsafe in the U.S., according to this year’s Social Tracking of Asian Americans in the U.S. (STAATUS) Index, the leading study examining attitudes and stereotypes toward AAPIs in the country.
Conducted by The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), the study, now in its third year, surveyed 5,235 respondents aged 16 and above between Feb. 9 and March 13.
Among Asian American respondents, 52% reported feeling unsafe due to their race and ethnicity. They felt the least safe on public transportation (29%), followed by in their own neighborhood (19%), school (19%), workplace (17%), local market (17%) and voting location (12%).
The survey also found that 78% — about four in five — of Asian Americans, especially young, Asian American women, do not completely feel they belong and are accepted.
TAAF CEO Norman Chen described the findings as a “continuing and alarming trend.”
“Anti-Asian violence threatens our community and takes a toll in every part of our lives, from riding a public bus to attending school,” Chen said. “We can’t blame political rhetoric and the COVID-19 pandemic alone for anti-Asian sentiment. Historic stereotypes and prejudices towards our communities are persistent and deeply entrenched.”
Chen said the study also shows that geopolitics may affect anti-Asian sentiment.
Of the total respondents, a whopping 83% see China as a military or national security threat; 74% as an economic threat and 44% as a health threat.
Meanwhile, more than one in four respondents believe Asian Americans are more loyal to their country of origin than the U.S. About a third believe Asian Americans should be subjected to greater scrutiny if they work in areas that are considered critical to U.S. global strategic competitiveness.
“These unfortunate and enduring misperceptions erode our sense of belonging and safety as AAPIs. By tracking these perceptions, we want to draw attention and implement solutions to the very real and persistent problems impacting the daily lives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” Chen said.
Still, the survey reveals more promising trends.
An overwhelming majority of 87% think Asian Americans should be employed in jobs that involve national security, while 79% do not see people of Chinese descent as a threat.
The inaugural STAATUS Index, released in 2021, was among the first national studies of its kind in 20 years. It found that 11% of Americans saw Asian Americans as at least partly responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic — a figure that has grown to about 1 in 5 this year.
Check out the full survey here.