HomeAsian AmericansNeeds of New York's Asian American Seniors Not Being Met

Needs of New York’s Asian American Seniors Not Being Met

Asian American Seniors
Photo by Dan Lee

By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent

A new report out indicates while Asian American seniors are the fastest growing segment of New York’s senior population, their needs are largely ignored.

The report Asian Americans in New York City: An Updated Snapshot from the Asian American Federation found Asian Americans make up 16 percent of the senior population in the Big Apple, yet just 2.7 percent of the social service funding is dedicated specifically to Asian services.

The Asian American non-profits serving the community’s seniors are operating beyond full capacity.

“We thought it was important to give the seniors and frontline leaders a voice in outlining what they felt were the unmet needs, as well as the policy changes necessary to ensure that seniors are given the resources to live full lives,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation.

Among those unmet needs outlined in the report:

  • In-language outreach to Asian seniors
  • Increased access to social service nets to alleviate poverty for more recent arrivals
  • Exposure to job skill programs and adult literacy programs
  • Create affordable senior housing and culturally appropriate assisted living facilities


“The Asian 50 plus population faces language barriers, educational attainment, income, housing, social isolation and health
challenges and barriers,” said Daphne Kwok, Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, AAPI at AARP.  “With the AAPI community, useful meaningful data to get to the true needs of each separate ethnic group means disaggregated data. This report delves deeper by providing the rich disaggregated data that reveals the stark needs of each AAPI ethnic group reported.”

The growth of the Asian senior population in New York City is driven by Asian seniors immigrating later in life and earlier arrivals aging into the senior population.

Asian American seniors
Photo by India Home

The population of South Asian and other Asian groups have more than tripled from 2000 to 2014 signaling a demographic shift within the Asian senior population.
Many are less educated than the general population, English language proficiency is a challenge and there is increased social isolation.

They are much more likely to be poor.

“We can no longer ignore their needs,” said Howard Shih, research and policy director of the Federation. “We must address their language, health, and housing needs – among all the others – if we hope to support their longevity.”
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