Assessing the Health of Asian American Youth: A Multidisciplinary Approach

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1 Assessing the Health of Asian American Youth: A Multidisciplinary Approach

2 Cliff Akiyama University of Pennsylvania Jerry Lee Center of Criminology Philadelphia, PA

3 Asian Demographics

4 Asian Demographics in the United States (2000 Census Data) Asians make up 11.9 million of the total population U.S. residents who reported Asian alone or in combination with one or more other races made up 4.2% of the total population in the U.S. Chinese are the leading Asian group with 2.7 million followed by Filipinos (2.4 million) U.S. residents who reported as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone or in combination is 874,400 (0.3 percent of the total population)

5 Asian Demographics in the United States (2000 Census Data) Median income of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) households is $55,525, the highest median income of any racial group The poverty rate of Asians and Pacific Islanders is 10.7% (lowest poverty rate the Census Bureau has ever measured for this race group) 44% of Asians and Pacific Islanders age 25 and over hold a bachelor's degree or higher (the corresponding rate for all adults 25 and over was 26%)

6 Asian Demographics in the United States (2000 Census Data) 1 in 7 Asian and Pacific Islanders ages 25 and over hold an advanced degree The five largest contributors to the nation's Asianborn population were China, India, Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam Close to half (about 45 percent) of the nation's Asian-born population lived in three metropolitan areas: Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco

7 Asian Demographics in the United States (2000 Census Data) 4.2 million of California residents (12% of total CA population) reported as Asian in Census 2000, making the Golden State the state with the highest number of Asians New York, Hawaii, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Virginia, and Massachusetts followed in order. Combined, these ten states represented 75% of the country's Asian population

8 Asian Demographics in the United States (2000 Census Data) 31.1 was the median age of the Asian population 6.9 million people spoke an Asian or Pacific Islander language at home There are over 100 Asian languages/dialects spoken in the United States 47% of the foreign-born population from Asia who were naturalized U.S. citizens 88% of API s were either foreign-born themselves or had at least one foreign-born parent

9 Asian Youth Gangs

10 Asian Gang Statistics in Los Angeles County, California Asian gangs make up about 11% of the total gang population (1,351 total gangs) There are currently 151 documented Asian gangs in the County of Los Angeles Average age is 15 with a range of 8-22 years Gang membership exceeds 6,000 (over 150,000 total members)

11 Asian Gang Statistics in Orange County, California Asian gangs make up about 16% of the total gang population (365 total gangs) There are currently 65 documented Asian gangs in Orange County Average age is 15 with a range of 8-22 years Gang membership exceeds 3,000 (over 22,000 total members)

12 Ethnic Composition of Asian Youth Gangs Vietnamese Cambodians Laotians Filipinos Samoans Chinese/Taiwanese Koreans

13 Factors Contributing to Asian Youth Gang Membership Lack of adult supervision Breakdown of the family Victimization due to racism Reactions to culture shock Need for survival Desire for monetary profit

14 Traditional Versus Non-Traditional" Asian Gangs

15 Characteristics of Traditional Asian Gangs Primarily found to be Pacific Islanders (i.e: Filipinos, Samoans, Chamorros) Primary motive is driven by money and drugs Extremely territorial Typically wear identifying colors which indicate their gang affiliation (Red=Bloods and Blue=Crips)

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19 Characteristics of Non- Traditional Asian Gangs Primarily found to be Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, Korean, or Chinese Prey on their own culture Primary motive is driven by money by committing high tech crimes (i.e: computer chip theft, credit card fraud, counterfeiting, and auto theft) Extremely violent (home invasions) Transient (move from one place to another) Racial exclusivity

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24 Suicide

25 National Characteristics of Suicide Suicide took the lives of 30,575 Americans in 1998 (11.3 per 100,000 population) More people die from suicide than from homicide. In 1998, there were 1.7 times as many suicides as homicides Overall, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all Americans and is the third leading cause of death for young people aged Males are four times more likely to die from suicide than are females. However, females are more likely to attempt suicide than are males Nearly 3 of every 5 suicides in 1998 (57%) were committed with a firearm

26 Suicide in the Asian Community Suicide in the Asian Community makes up 11% of all suicides reported, which is the highest for any minority group Asian American women have the highest suicide rates among women ages 15 to 24 and those over age 65 Suicide is ranked 8th in the leading causes of death for Asian American and Pacific Islander women in the United States

27 Teen Pregnancy

28 Teen Pregnancy in the Asian Community As a group, Asian/Pacific Islanders (API) experience low rates of teen pregnancy and childbearing, and are therefore often left out of prevention efforts as a low-risk population The "model minority" stereotype, coupled with classification of API communities as a single "Asian" group, has masked significant health and social issues, in particular with adolescent pregnancy

29 Teen Pregnancy in the Asian Community: Confronting the Truth Asian/Pacific Islanders currently have one of the fastest growing teenage pregnancy rates in the nation, at a time when U.S. teen births overall are decreasing When using a single API classification the percentage of births to teen mothers is 5.6, far below the percentages among whites (12%), Hispanics (16%), and blacks (18%)

30 Teen Pregnancy in the Asian Community: Confronting the Truth The greater API population comprises both the lowest percentage of teen births (Chinese teens at 1%) and the highest (Laotian teens at 19%) Groups falling in between include Chamorros (Guam) at 17% and Hawaiians at 14% Cambodians and Pacific Islanders are also at highly elevated risk of teen childbearing and have seen a dramatic increase in the past few years

31 Improving the Health of Asian American Youth Before any type of intervention or prevention program can be implemented in an Asian community, the community must first admit that they have a problem Apathy is the community s worst enemy Must gain trust within the community

32 Improving the Health of Asian American Youth A multidisciplinary approach is needed to help fight various health and social problems Such an approach should include the public health, medical, legal, and law enforcement sectors Prevention programs should promote parent involvement and education Increase community involvement and education through outreach programs

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