Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month
In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, RespectAbility recognizes the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to our society.
According to the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are 18,814,944 Asian Americans living in the United States. Out of that number, 1,454,941 have disabilities. The states with the largest population of Asian Americans with disabilities are California and New York, which have 509,446 and 131,682 of AAPI with disabilities in residence, respectively.
A 2021 report from the New American Economy research fund found that the AAPI community is the fastest-growing minority group in the United States. In the last decade, the AAPI community grew by 25.5%, contributing to about 20% of the total population growth in the country. In 2019, AAPI households brought in $783.7 billion and were able to contribute $167.9 billion in federal taxes, and $72.5 billion in state taxes. However, according to the same report, the AAPI community still had about $543.4 billion in purchasing power after taxes.
This is the very definition of a growing and thriving community, and yet it is clear that stigma and bias continue to result in under-diagnosis of disabilities in the community, leading to gaps in outcomes.
While we celebrate AAPI Heritage Month in May, we also understand that raising and centering the voices of AAPI with disabilities year-round is critical to creating a better and more inclusive environment for everyone.
Employment for People with Disabilities
According to the newest National Trends In Disability Employment (nTIDE) report, in April 2023, the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities rose to 38.3%, compared to 37.5% in April 2022. These rates continue to eclipse those in the first quarter of 2022 as we work towards closing the gap between workers with and without disabilities. Workers without disabilities also experienced an uptick in the labor force participation rate, which rose from 76.9% in April 2022 to 77.4% in April 2023.
Likewise, the employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities rose from 34.0% in April 2022 to 35.6% in April 2023. For those without disabilities, the employment-to-population ratio increased from 74.5% to 75.1%.
The month-to-month data was less positive. It showed a decline in the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities, from 40.2% in March 2023 to 38.3% in April 2023. The labor force participation rate for those without disabilities also fell slightly to 77.4% in April 2023, from 77.6% in March 2023.
The month-to-month employment-to-population ratio for people with disabilities fell to 35.6% in April 2023 from 36.6% in March 2023. On the other hand, workers without disabilities’ employment-to-population ratio increased from 74.9% in March 2023 to 75.1% in April 2023.
The month-to-month drop in disability employment is hard to draw conclusions from until we can see a trend. Still, it is a crucial indicator to the disability community and our allies that we must continue to promote inclusive employment practices that engage and activate the needs of people with disabilities in the workforce.
Payroll & Unemployment Rate
According to the latest U.S. payroll employment report, the number of paid U.S. workers in all businesses, excluding those working on farms, serving in the military, volunteers, and unpaid workers in the home, rose by 253,000 from April 2021 to April 2023.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s disability employment statistics, the unemployment rate of people without a disability was steady at 3.0%, within the range of 3-5% which is deemed healthy by most economists. However, the unemployment rate amongst those with a disability is about 2.3 times higher than for those without a disability, at 7%.
Noticeably, the unemployment rate of people with disabilities dropped from 9% in March 2023 to 7% in April 2023. However, this unemployment rate is still 2.3 times higher than for those without a disability. It reminds us that we must work to eliminate barriers and encourage meaningful employment so that all people who want to work can do so.