This post is part B of a series on Asian American donors, see original post here.

[Update 04/22/2019: For more information about how Sono did this analysis please see this post.]

Yesterday, we examined which Democratic presidential candidates were raising the most from Asian donors overall. Today, we dig deeper into these contributions and look at how particular Asian American ethnic groups contributed. Using the same set of contribution records, I looked at donors belonging to the six largest ethnic groups in the United States by population size : Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, and Vietnamese.[mfn]Donors who could not be categorized into one of the major groups were coded as “other Asian” and are excluded from the analysis, unless where noted.[/mfn]

Which ethnic group has given the most?

Among those contributions coded, Indian American  and Chinese American donors account for the majority of contributions with Indian contributions totaling over 540K and Chinese contributions more than 358K. That these two groups make up the bulk of Asian contributions is not surprising given that they are the two largest Asian ethnic groups in the United States, although the Chinese American population is larger than the Indian American population.

Which candidates are they giving to?

As a reminder, the candidates who raised the most from Asian American donors during this time period were Booker, Gabbard, Harris, Sanders, and Yang. For visualization purposes, I focus on contributions to 5 candidates who raised the most amount of money from Asian American donors overall (see table below for all candidates).

The figure below shows how each donors belonging to ethnic group contributed across the major candidates, with “other” indicating one of the other Democratic candidates.

Here’s some quick takeaways:

1. 44% of Indian American contributions went to Tulsi Gabbard.

2. 26% of Chinese American contributions went to Andrew Yang

3. Among Korean American & Filipino American donors, contributions to Booker’s campaign accounted for large shares of total contributions.

4. Among Japanese American & Vietnamese American donors, contributions to Harris’ campaign accounted for large shares of total contributions.




Next, we take another look at contributions by looking at the ethnic breakdown of each candidate’s Asian contributions. Here, we can see a few interesting things:


1. 60% of Gabbard’s Asian American contributions come from Indian American donors.

2. The vast majority of Asian American contributions to Andrew Yang’s campaign comes from Chinese American donors (80%).

3. More than 1/3 of the money Booker’s campaign has raised from Asian American donors comes from Indian Americans

4. Unlike Gabbard, Yang or Booker, who appear to rely heavily on a single ethnic group, both Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders have raised money from a more diverse set of Asian American donors.


A note about geographic differences
Interestingly, while both Booker and Gabbard have raised significant amounts of money from Indian American donors, they appear to be doing so from largely different areas. For example, subsetting Indian American contributions to Gabbard’s campaign by donor state, about 47% of contributions come from California. However, when doing the same for Booker’s campaign, just 21% of Indian American contributions come from CA. Instead, 41% of Indian American contributions to Booker come from New Jersey, which Booker represents in the U.S. Senate and is home to more than 369,590 Indian Americans.


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Sono Shah(@imsonoshah) is a Ph.D. Candidate at UC Riverside and researcher at AAPI Data and the Center for Social InnovationTo learn more about Sono’s research, please visit