Profiles | Demographics | Model
Minority Myth | Socioeconomic Status/Insurance Status
|Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing ethnic/racial minority in the U.S., representing 4.2% of the total U.S. population, with an annual growth rate of 5.2%. The U.S. Census Bureau projects the Asian American population to grow to 37.6 million by 2050, estimating that it will comprise 9.3% of the U.S. population.|
Montgomery County has one of the most diverse Asian American populations. The term "Asian American" refers to those people with familial roots originating in many countries, ethnic groups, and cultures of the Asian continent including, but not limited to: Asian Indian, Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Burmese, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Malayan, Mien, Nepalese, Pakistani, Sikh, Sri Lankan, Thai, and Vietnamese.
Many Asian Americans have achieved the American Dream of earning a good education and financial stability. These successful images have led many people to believe in the Model Minority Myth. The Model Minority Myth assumes that ALL Asian Americans enjoy a high socioeconomic status, are well educated and are healthy. However, the truth is, more than a million Asian Americans live at or below the federal poverty level, are afflicted by various health problems, and often lack health insurances.
Low socioeconomic status is a major barrier that prevents many Asian Americans from receiving health insurance. Asian Americans often lack the necessary skills, including language proficiency, to find jobs that offer health insurance. At the same time, they can not afford private health insurance or they are not eligible for Medicaid. The aging Asian American populations also lack health insurance. Many seniors live in substandard housing, and have little or no health insurance and limited transportation to healthcare services.
** Source: Commonwealth Fund 2001 Health Care Quality Survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates
Asian Americans face cultural and linguistic barriers that may discourage or prevent them from accessing health care services available to them. The way Asian Americans deal with illness and disease is also very different from the general population. In most cases, Asian Americans with limited English proficiency have difficulties in understanding the U.S. health care system and communicating with health care providers. Many Asian Americans believe that their doctors do not understand their culture and values. They are less likely to rate their care highly and be confident about their care compared to the overall population. Varying cultural values and beliefs of disease also put constraints on an individual from seeking proper care. Because of these traditional approaches to health care, Asian Americans may not perceive the value or identify the purpose or necessity in obtaining care. This behavior contributes to the diagnosis of diseases in the later stages leading to untreatable conditions.
Due to various reasons mentioned above, Asian Americans are disproportionately affected by many health disparities. Some examples of these health disparities are outlined below:
** Source: President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Addressing Health Disparities: Opportunities for Building a Healthier America, 2003
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