Asian Americans facing hunger in California are less likely to seek help from government assistance programs than other ethnic groups, found a study published in Health Affairs.
Researchers combed California Health Interview Survey Data gathered from 2011 through 2020. They studied information from six main groups- Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asian (Bangladeshi, Indian, Nepalese, Pakistani, or Sri Lankan), and Vietnamese.
Food insecurity from those Asian Americans 200 percent below the poverty line ranged from 25 – 39.5% with Koreans being the lowest to Filipinos the highest.
Most of these Asian Americans had a much lower participation rate in California’s food program, CalFresh compared with Black, Hispanic, Latino, and White respondents.
Interestingly, the rate of participation did not differ between English-speaking Asian Americans and those who were not.
This is one of the few studies done on Asian Americans and hunger in the country. NYCfoodpolicy.org reported only 0.17 percent of the National Institute of Health budget went to study Asian Americans.
Hunger is generally lower in the Asian American communities than in others. However, during the first few months of the pandemic, food insecurity spiked 14% for Asian Americans.
The community found itself hit harder by job losses than any other demographic during the pandemic. Many Asian Americans were employed in fields that struggled during the Covid crisis. Unemployment in 2020 spiked 20% for Asian Americans, the highest in the country.
About 137,000 Asian Americans living in New York are living in poverty. Many also face transportation obstacles and lack flexible work schedules that would allow them to wait in a food line.
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