The Asian American Federation of Florida (AAFF) is a 501(c)(3) coalition that aims to unity and collaboration among the various Asian Pacific American organizations and to improve the relationship of a culturally diverse Asian Pacific American community in Florida. The AAFF is a statewide organization made up of more than 70 Bangladesh, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Iranian, Korean, Laotian, Taiwanese, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese community-based organizations, businesses and media.

AAPI Needs in the South         

Asian Americans and NHPI in the South continue to face language barriers and need language assistance to assess critical services.

As immigration continues to drive population growth, many Asian Americans and NHPI are limited English   proficient (LEP) and face challenges communicating in English that limit their ability to access job opportunities, education, and basic services. Data from the American Community Survey show that 28% to 35% of Asian Americans in these five metropolitan areas are LEP. A majority of some ethnic groups are LEP, including Vietnamese Americans in Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston, and Burmese Americans in Dallas and the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Both Asian American seniors and youth disproportionately face language barriers. To ensure Asian Americans and NHPI equitable access to social services, federal, state, and local governments should ensure adequate funding to support outreach to LEP communities, the hiring and training of bilingual staff, and translation of materials

.The educational needs of Asian Americans and NHPI are diverse;

These communities continue to have a stake in the future of public education. Contrary to the “model minority” myth, Asian Americans and NHPI are not universally well educated. According to data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Asian American adults are consistently less likely than Whites to hold a high school degree. Among Asian American ethnic groups, Southeast Asians are as likely as Latinos and African Americans to have finished high school. In Atlanta and Dallas, fewer than one in five Cambodian and Laotian Americans and NHPI have a college degree. Across the region, Asian Americans and NHPI are more likely than Whites to be enrolled in public school, demonstrating the stake these communities have in the future of public education. Government, foundations, corporations, and other stakeholders should address educational disparities through increased funding to public schools in low-income and immigrant communities, supporting programs that address the linguistic and cultural barriers immigrant students face.

The economic crisis has impacted Asian American communities in the South as increasing numbers are unemployed and living below the poverty line.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the number of unemployed Asian Americans in Georgia, Texas, and Virginia more than doubled between 2007 and 2012, while the number of unemployed Asian Americans in Florida and Maryland tripled over the same time period. Data from the Census Bureau reveal similar increases in the number of poor: growth in the number of Asian Americans living in poverty was the highest among all racial groups in Dallas, Houston, and Miami. Among ethnic groups, NHPI in Atlanta, Burmese Americans in Dallas, and Bangladeshi Americans in the Washington, DC metropolitan area are more likely than any racial group in their respective areas to be low income. Federal, state, and local jurisdictions should work to preserve and expand access to social safety-net programs and invest resources in culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach and education to growing immigrant communities.

Asian Americans and NHPI in the South continue to face barriers to achieving housing security.

Across the South, NHPI and Asian Americans are less likely to be homeowners. Bhutanese, Burmese, and Nepalese Americans have lower rates of homeownership than all racial groups in Atlanta and Dallas. Nepalese, Burmese, and Guamanian or Chamorro Americans in Houston, Guamanian or Chamorro Americans and Native Hawaiians in Miami, and Mongolian, Samoan, Nepalese, and Guamanian or Chamorro Americans in the Washington, DC metropolitan area have the lowest homeownership rates in their respective areas. Further, many Asian Americans and NHPI face challenges in finding affordable rental housing. According to the American Community Survey, two-thirds of Pakistani Americans and nearly half of Korean Americans in the Washington, DC metropolitan area are housing-cost burdened, spending 30% or more of their incomes on rent. A majority of Vietnamese Americans in Atlanta and  Miami, Korean Americans in Dallas, and Pakistani Americans in Houston are housing-cost burdened. Federal, state, and local agencies and the private sector should expand housing counseling and consumer-protection services while also expanding affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities for families throughout the South.

Asian  Americans  in  the  South  are  disproportionately  impacted  by  disease  yet  face  barriers  accessing  care

Cancer and heart disease are the leading causes of death for Asian Americans in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, and the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The number of Asian American suicide deaths have increased dramatically in Georgia and Maryland. Yet in all of the metropolitan areas featured in this report, American Community Survey data show that Asian Americans are far more likely than Whites to be uninsured. In Houston,  41% of Pakistani Americans lack health insurance, a rate higher than all racial groups in that area; 41% of Korean Americans in Atlanta and 35% of Korean Americans in Dallas are uninsured. Approximately 44% of Asian Americans in Texas do not have a regular health care provider; Asian Americans in that state are less likely to have seen a doctor in the past year. In the face of these challenges, Asian Americans in the South have benefited from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); thousands have enrolled in the federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace Plan. However, government agencies, community-based organizations, and those in the health industry should continue to reach out and educate Asian American and NHPI communities about the ACA, promoting access by ensuring the enforcement of its antidiscrimination provisions.