Southeast Asian American advocates particularly celebrate the tool for the publication of data accurately classifying Hmong Americans

Feb. 12, 2024 — Today, AAPI Data, a national Asian American and Pacific Islander research and policy organization, released the AANHPI Community Counts Dashboard, a comprehensive community-oriented digital hub providing detailed county, state, and national population counts for over 40 Asian and 34 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander origin groups living in the U.S.

The Community Counts Dashboard is the first activation in the Power In Numbers campaign, a national community-led effort aimed at driving lasting policy change and investments in civic engagement that empower Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities — ensuring that they are respected, recognized, and prioritized.

Over 35 state and national organizations have signed onto the campaign, which includes calls for an executive order to create an Office of Data Equity to ensure progress and performance improvement in the design, collection, analysis and dissemination of federal data on race and ethnicity.

“Access to data is a key pillar to understanding inequities, working through solutions, and driving investments to AANHPI communities,” said Gregg Orton, executive director of National Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), which sent a letter to the Biden administration calling for the establishment of an Office of Data Equity. “We are incredibly grateful for the Community Counts Dashboard, which follows best practices on data equity in our recent letter to the Biden administration.”

The Power In Numbers campaign builds on these efforts to ensure federal agency data efforts are timely, accurate and responsive to community needs. “Collectively, we pushed the U.S. Census Bureau to be more timely and responsive in its release of ethnicity data, benefited from the expertise of dozens of community partners, and ensured the data was more accessible and community-friendly,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, founder and executive director of AAPI Data. “The Power In Numbers campaign seeks to ensure that these data equity practices are a permanent feature of the federal government moving forward.”

About the Community Counts Dashboard

AAPI Data — with the help and expertise of over 35 community organizations — developed, tested and released the Community Counts Dashboard, drawing from the latest 2020 Census population counts for detailed ethnicity.

Two key features of the dashboard include:

  1. its ease of use for community-based organizations, who rely on it for better advocacy and service delivery, and;
  2. Improved accuracy in classifying Asian ethnicities, including Southeast Asian and East Asian populations

“The Community Counts Dashboard is so easy to navigate,” said Mary Anne Foo, executive director of the Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA). “I was able to find disaggregated data for my county and have already used it to educate policymakers about the diverse AANHPI populations in our service area.”

“Our organization is one of the first in Arizona to have AANHPI community health workers,” said Liza Merrill, an outreach manager at the Arizona-based nonprofit Asian Pacific Community in Action. “And this type of data tool is critical for our team to help us better understand the community need for our people, and even help us in our fight to get recognition and resources — to send the important message that ‘we are here and we matter.’”

The Community Counts Dashboard addresses prior errors by the U.S. Census Bureau, which classified Hmong as “East Asian” rather than “Southeast Asian” and classified Timorese as “Other Asian” rather than “Southeast Asian.” Hmong and other Southeast Asian advocacy organizations launched a mobilization campaign in 2023, calling on the Census Bureau to correct the misclassification.

“It is critically important to demonstrate the power of each and every one of our Southeast Asian communities,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC). “The AAPI Community Counts dashboard ensures a deep understanding of our population, who are often rendered invisible by aggregated data. It also shows our data in a way that reflects our actual identities by correctly categorizing Hmong as Southeast Asian. Our communities deserve the opportunity to thrive and heal, and that starts with visibility and accurate data.”

Detailed ethnicity data has also been a longstanding priority for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. “The stories of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities are often lost or rendered invisible through current data collection practices,” said Estella Owoimaha-Church, Executive Director at Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC). “The AANHPI Community Counts dashboard ensures we are moving forward as a collective. Increased visibility lets us center our communities’ most urgent needs so we can thrive alongside one another.”

Among the 74 AANHPI groups represented in the data dashboard, 31 of them have been represented for the first time in the latest 2020 Census (marked in bold below). This type of visibility and representation is critical, as the once-a-decade national population count helps determine political power and federal funding:

    • Asian origin groups — Afghan, Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Bruneian, Burmese, Buryat, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Kalmyk, Kazakh, Korean, Kuki, Kyrgyz, Lahu, Laotian, Malay, Malaysian, Maldivian, Mien, Mizo, Mongolian, Nepalese, Pakistani, Pashtun, Sindhi, Singaporean, Sikh, Sri Lankan, Tai Dam, Taiwanese, Tajik, Thai, Timorese, Turkmen, Uzbek, Vietnamese
    • Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander origin groups — Carolinian, Chamorro, Chuukese, Cook Islander, Easter Islander, Fijian, French Polynesian, Guamanian I-Kiribati, Kosraean, Maori, Marshallese, Melanesian, Micronesian, Native Hawaiian, Nauruan, New Caledonian, Ni-Vanuatu, Niuean, Northern Mariana Islander, Palauan, Papua New Guinean, Pohnpeian, Polynesian, Rotuman, Saipanese, Samoan, Solomon Islander, Tahitian, Tokelauan, Tongan, Tuvaluan, Wallisian and Futunan, Yapese

The release of this data is the culmination of a two-year push from AANHPI organizations and advocates who pressured the U.S. Census Bureau to release detailed ethnicity counts — which are often used as a critical tool for community-based organizations, and local/state/federal government to engage and support local communities. More information on the Community Counts Dashboard is available at: 

About AAPI Data

AAPI Data is a national research and policy organization producing accurate data and supporting community narratives that drive action toward enduring solutions for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. Learn more at

About the Power In Numbers Campaign

Power In Numbers is a national community-led campaign to drive systemic change for Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities through key data equity and disaggregation issues. Learn more at

Nicholas Turton