Saturday, December 22, 2012

American Association of Medical Colleges recognizes Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander underrerpesentation

Since our mission is to reduce the number of underrepresented minority programs that wrongfully exclude Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, we make a point of sharing information about the growing chorus of universities and other entities that have their facts right.

Case in point: the American Association of Medical Colleges, which was noted for recognizing Pacific Islander underrepresentation in this blog post (LINK).

To quote the blog:

With the opportunity to educate a growing number of PAs (physician's assistant -- added) comes the opportunity to actively recruit from places and population groups that are woefully underrepresented in the PA profession today. These new programs — and also the well-established institutions — should consider the potential impact of bringing on more bright, well-prepared students from underrepresented groups in medicine (blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges).

The AAMC also includes Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders in their "Med-Mar" program for underrepresented minorities. Here's a link to more info on that: LINK

Mahalo to the American Association of Medical Colleges for recognizing that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in medical professions.

Kawika

Friday, December 14, 2012

Oregon university triples Pacific Islander student population in three years

Tucked into a local newspaper article about Western Oregon University's overall success at increasing student body diversity, I found this impressive figure: the school has tripled its Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander student population in the last three years.

Between 2008 and 2011, the number of students who identified themselves as Hispanic increased from 393 to 652.  Western's black and Pacific Islander populations have nearly doubled and tripled in size, respectively.

The graph below shows that we're not talking about an increase from 1 Pacific Islander to 3. The Pacific Islander student population is almost as high as the Asian population, and not far from the African American enrollment figures.

Since 2008, Western Oregon University in Monmouth has gained minority groups to the tune of 24 percent of current domestic students.

The article doesn't provide any information to explain what (if any) Pacific Islander-specific programs have contributed to this increase, but it's implied that the overall diversity efforts must have played a role.  If we come across any information on what this school has been doing right for Pacific Islanders, we will let you know.

Kawika

Friday, December 07, 2012

Ball State University added to growing list of universities that recognize Pacific Islander underrepresentation

We can now add Ball State University to the growing list of universities who are on the record recognizing that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher education, according to a recent article in the Star Press.

Here's the quote, from the second page of the story:

Under-represented minorities — which include Asian, biracial, black, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander, but not foreign students — make up 12.5 percent of all undergraduates this fall, compared with only 6.9 percent in fall 2003.

Here are some (but not all) of the other universities who have reached the same conclusion:

  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor: LINK
  • San Diego State University: LINK
  • UCLA: LINK
  • USC: LINK
  • Sacramento State University: LINK
Kawika

Saturday, December 01, 2012

The P.I.A. project turns two!

Aloha!  Last month marked two years since the Pacific Islander Access project incorporated as a nonprofit.  On this occasion, I wanted to revisit why we were founded, and consider the progress we've made towards our goals.

Here are short summaries in those areas.

I also want to thank all of you for reading! And of course, to our all-volunteer board (Lorinda, Bryce, Karin), our past interns (Dusty and Karin), and all of our supporters.


The P.I.A. project

Why we were founded: The P.I.A. project was founded to be the vehicle for fixing a specific problem: Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher education, but they can't apply to most academic programs for underrepresented minorities. We want to raise awareness about this disconnect, and work with the leaders at underrepresented minority programs so this problem can be solved, one scholarship at a time.

Why does it matter: The exclusion of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders from underrepresented minority scholarships matters because education matters. Education is a path to prosperity, well-being, and opportunity. It's no coincidence that America's underrepresented minority groups also have the poorest health outcomes and the highest poverty rates. Pacific Islanders already have the challenges that are associated with being an underrepresented minority. Why should they also be excluded from the programs that were designed to help them?

Our Model: The P.I.A. project is something of an experiment. Can a nonprofit run entirely by volunteers, with a budget of a few hundred dollars a year, make a difference on a national scale if they focus their resources on solving a specific problem that holds back a community in need? We started as a small, focused, all-volunteer organization, and today that's still what we are.

Our Goals

1.) Make the facts about Pacific Islander underrepresentation available 

Done, and we're doing more!

That's what this blog, and all of the resources on this website are all about. We've developed a special section to help underrepresented minority programs learn about Pacific Islanders, a 101 for all of our readers, and weekly posts about America's growing Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander community.

2.) Raise awareness of the growing recognition of Pacific Islander underrepresentation

Done, and again, we're doing more!

Through this website, our readers have seen that between 2004 and 2012, the percentage of underrepresented minority programs that recognized Pacific Islanders increased from 21 to 28 percent.  More notably, they saw that since we started contacting those programs a few months ago, that percentage grew again from 28 to 32 percent.

We have a long ways to go, but it's clear that the momentum is on our side.

We've also shared information about universities that recognize that Pacific Islanders are underrepresented, including UCLA, USC, and others.

3.) Complete a national study on which underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships do or don't recognize Pacific Islander underrepresentation

Done!

This summer, we completed a national study to measure the extent to which underrepresented minority programs recognize that Pacific Islanders are underrepresented. Looking at 50 scholarships and fellowships, we found that only 28 percent of them recognize that Pacific Islanders are underrepresented -- despite over two decades of data confirming that they are.

That number should be 100 percent, but as we mentioned earlier, this was is an increase from 2004, where another national study found that only 21 percent recognized Pacific Islanders.


4.) Persuade underrepresented minority programs that don't recognize Pacific Islander underrepresentation to change their policies

Just getting started, but we're already getting things done!

After completing our national study, we started reaching out to the underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships that don't recognize Pacific Islander underrepresentation -- yet.  We introduced the P.I.A. project, shared the data, and asked that they change their policies.

So far, two of them already have: the HBCU Minority Scholarship and the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship.

We're still communicating with their peers, and we hope that more and more will follow their lead.


5.) Connect Pacific Islanders with the underrepresented minority programs that they can already apply to

We still have to get this done, but we have plans! 

After we've done more to increase Pacific Islander access to underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships, we want to transition towards a new goal: connecting Pacific Islander students with the scholarships and fellowships that already want to help them.

We will take a step in this direction in 2013, when we publish a list of the 50 scholarships and fellowships that were in our 2012 study.  We'll make sure that our youth and their parents know which underrepresented minority programs they can apply to.

Kawika

Saturday, November 24, 2012

P.I.A. project post from APIASF blog

Last week we responded to a New York Times article that erroneously labeled Pacific Islanders as Asian. In our post, I mentioned that while the P.I.A. project is opposed to misclassifying Pacific Islanders as an Asian subgroup, we appreciate that there are many  coalition groups that serve both Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are doing good work.  These groups go by different acronyms, from "AAPI" (Asian American and Pacific Islander), "API" (Asian and Pacific Islander) or "APA" (Asian and Pacific American). The acronym isn't really important -- what's important is that they serve and engage both of the groups they claim to advocate for -- both 1.) Asian Americans and 2.) Pacific Islander Americans.

One AAPI group we've enjoyed working with is the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF).

I'd heard about APIASF about a decade ago when I came to Washington as an intern, but it wasn't until a year ago that I really go to know the organization.  That change happened thanks to Phong Luu, APIASF's outreach specialist.  Phong came across our blog, and took the time to reach out to us so he could learn more about the P.I.A. project's efforts to increase higher educational opportunities for Pacific Islanders.

More recently, I was invited to be a regular contributor to APIASF's blog, re/present.  This week, I blogged about the Pacific Islander Access project's success in working with two forward thinking underrepresented minority scholarships -- the HBCU Minority Scholarship and the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship -- to include Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders in their definition of "underrepresented minority."

You can read that post by clicking here: LINK

Kawika

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Response to New York Times article that described Pacific Islanders as an Asian subgroup

This month, the New York Times published an article on Asian Americans and affirmative action. The author appears to have done her research in several areas, but certainly made an error in describing Pacific Islanders as an Asian American subgroup.

Here's the line:
On the other hand, Filipinos, Cambodians, Pacific Islanders and other Asian-Americans continue to benefit from policies that take ethnicity into account.
We've answered this question before, but when one of the most respected newspapers in the country gets it wrong, it's worth repeating:

Pacific Islanders are not Asian. Pacific Islanders are Pacific Islanders.

Since 1997, federal policy on racial and ethnic classification has recognized that Pacific Islanders and Asians are two distinct and separate racial groups. (That policy is OMB Directive 15, and you can read it yourself here: LINK)

And not to get technical, but the Pacific Islands and Asia are two different places. As a Native Hawaiian, my ancestral lands are over a thousand miles closer to the West Coast of North America than they are to Asia.

In addition to being wrong, the notion that Pacific Islanders are just an Asian subgroup can have real consequences. One example: access to academic programs for underrepresented minorities.  I experienced this myself as a college student, when I was told that Pacific Islanders weren't an underrepresented minority because "Pacific Islanders are Asian, and Asians aren't underrepresented."

That isn't to discount the bond between Pacific Islanders and Asians, or the good work of numerous "AAPI" (Asian American and Pacific Islander) organizations that serve both the Asian American and the Pacific Islander American community. But having a bond and working in coalitions doesn't mean that Pacific Islanders surrender their own identity.

That's not news, but it is the truth.

Kawika

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012 Elections: Pacific Islander Federally Elected Officials

This week America re-elected a President, and elected or re-elected a third of the Senate, the entire House of Representatives, and many state, local and trial officials. As part of our work to raise awareness of America's growing Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander community, the Pacific Islander Access project put together this summary of federally-elected Pacific Islander Americans:
  • Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Congresswoman, Hawaii 2nd District
  • Eni Faleomavaega, Congressional Delegate, American Samoa
  • Gregorio Klili C. Sablan, Congressional Delegate, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 
The P.I.A. project wishes the best to each of them, especially Tulsi, who I worked with back when we were both Senate staffers, and who now represents the Congressional District I grew up in. 

We also note the departure of U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, the first Pacific Islander to vote in Congress, and the only Pacific Islander to ever serve in the U.S. Senate. Senator Akaka's life of service is an example for all Americans, because he demonstrated that even in today's polarized political environment, you don't have to choose between your values and your success. Senator Akaka chose both, and when Congress adjourns he will return to Hawaii as a successful legislator who crafted dozens of critical laws for indigenous people, wounded warriors, the federal workforce, and others. He will also take his rightful place as a respected elder in Hawaii politics, and a living treasure to the Native Hawaiian community.

Those of you who've read our blog for some time know that Senator Akaka played a role in setting me down the path that eventually led to the founding of the Pacific Islander Access project.  We know that our little nonprofit is just one of the countless many organizations and groups that the Senator inspired over his career.

So again, congrats to the winners of this year's election, and mahalo nui loa to Senator Akaka for his service to our country. 

Kawika

Friday, November 02, 2012

Actuarial Diversity Scholarship changes policy, recognizes Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders as underrepresented!

I am very pleased to announce that after hearing from the Pacific Islander Access project and reviewing their policy, the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship will recognize that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented!

Starting next year, Pacific Islanders will be eligible to apply for this important scholarship, alongside other underrepresented groups. All of us at the P.I.A. project were excited when we found out, and impressed by the Actuarial Foundation's sincere interest in being inclusive of Pacific Islanders.

In choosing to make this important change, the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship joins the HBCU Minority Scholarship, which announced a change to its policy last month. Both scholarships were contacted by the P.I.A. project earlier this year, provided with data on Pacific Islander underrepresentation, and asked to consider adding Pacific Islanders to the list of groups eligible to apply for their scholarship.

We've thanked them already, but we'd like to publicly commend the Actuarial Foundation for its decision. Their willingness to take another look at the data and change their eligibility policy demonstrates a true commitment to giving underrepresented minorities the opportunities they need. We also hope that other underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships will look at the example being set by the Actuarial Diversity Scholarship and HBCU Minority Scholarship, and make sure they aren't wrongfully excluding Pacific Islanders from applying.

I encourage our readers to visit the Actuarial Foundation's website, http://www.actuarialfoundation.org, take a look at their scholarship, and share that information with peers and potential applicants.

Once again, aloha and mahalo to the Actuarial Foundation for opening up a new opportunity for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

Kawika

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Article on University of Michigan recognizes Pacific Islander underrepresentation

In an article published this week on enrollment at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders were recognized as one of several minority groups that are underrepresented in higher education. Here's the paragraph, from the article in AnnArbor.com:

Underrepresented minorities make up 10 percent of the freshmen class, a 0.5 percent decrease from 2011 and a 0.6 percent decrease from 2010. 
Overall, there are 2,207 blacks, 1,785 latinos, 442 Native Americans and 81 Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders enrolled.

Here are links to a few posts we've written on a few of the other universities that recognize Pacific Islander underrepresentation:

  • San Diego State University: LINK
  • UCLA: LINK
  • USC: LINK
  • Sacramento State University: LINK

Kawika

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The P.I.A. project blog surpasses 10,000 visits

Along with the much more important milestone of helping an underrepresented minority scholarship change its policy towards Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (from ineligible to apply to eligible), the Pacific Islander Access project struck another marker: our blog surpassed 10,000 visits.

Now, 10,000 visits isn't much for a the digital version of a newspaper, a big company's website, or many of the first-tier blogs run by pro bloggers. But for us, it's something we're very proud of.  Let me tell you why:

As you know from my own story, my journey towards founding the PIA project started at nineteen-years-old, when I applied to an underrepresented minority program, and was told that Native Hawaiians weren't recognized as underrepresented. More importantly, I was told that no Native Hawaiian, and no Pacific Islander, could apply for the seats reserved for underrepresented minorities. I decided to challenge the program, starting by doing my own research.  I was aided by what was then an emerging search engine called Google. (Yes, yes, everyone's heard of Google, but back then it was the new thing.)

Google made it easier, but it took a long time for me to put together a source-based explanation showing that Pacific Islanders deserve to be eligible to apply alongside other underrepresented minorities.

When we established the PIA project, one of my goals was to create the online equivalent of an one-stop-shop on this topic.  A place where students in my situation could easily find 20-years-worth of Census data showing Pacific Islander underrepresentation. Where well-intentioned scholarships could learn why they should choose to include Pacific Islanders. And where people could learn more about America's growing Pacific Islander community.

We're still working on our other goals, but we've accomplished our objectives with this blog. 10,000-plus visits, 115 posts, and several years later, I'm grateful for our opportunities, and proud of what this little all-volunteer nonprofit has done.

Kawika

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Infographic showing rate of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander underrepresentation, 1990-2012


Click infographic to view larger image

Here's another infographic to illustrate a fact we've shared before: for over twenty years, Census data has shown that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented among college graduates.  

This chart shows (in red) the percentage of graduate-age (25-years-and-older) Americans with 4-year-degrees, from 1990 to 2012.  Then, in blue, you see the same figures for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

As you can tell, Pacific Islander graduation rates have been far below the national average for over two decades.  

Kawika

Sunday, October 07, 2012

HBCU Minority Scholarship updates eligibility policy, chooses to include Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders!

Anyone who's been following our blog knows why the Pacific Islander Access project exists: Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher education, but they're excluded from even applying to many scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities.  We want to raise awareness about this problem, and persuade the scholarships and fellowships to change their policies.

In August, we told you about our national study on the rate of inclusion and exclusion among America's academic programs for underrepresented minorities.  Shortly after that, we wrote every one of the scholarships and fellowships in our study.  For those that did not include Pacific Islanders, we shared our data, and asked them to choose to include - not exclude - Pacific Islanders.

We believe in this approach because we believe that these academic programs are run by caring, well-intended people who wouldn't knowingly choose to exclude a deserving underrepresented minority group from being able to apply.

We are pleased to report that one scholarship has already proven us right!  We heard back from the HBCU Minority Scholarship, and they let us know that they looked at the data and have decided to include Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

In discussing this decision, HBCU Connect CEO Will Moss told us that "It is important that we consider the interest and needs of all minorities that have a desire to pursue their education at one of our country's Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We are honored to have had the request."

The PIA project commends HBCU Connect for making the right decision, and setting an example for other underrepresented minority programs. We hope that other academic programs will follow HBCU Connect's lead. One by one, the scholarships and fellowships themselves can give Pacific Islanders a fair chance to apply alongside other underrepresented groups.

Kawika

(Are you an academic programs for underrepresented minorities?  If so, thank you for visiting our page!  Please click here to view a special section of our blog with Q&A written specifically for you: LINK

Friday, September 21, 2012

California and Washington State to host conferences on Pacific Islander-focused education and research

Spread the Word! Between now and the end of the month, Pacific Islander scholars, leaders, and allies will meet in California and Washington State to attend two separate conferences with very similar goals: to raise awareness about America's growing Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander community, and provide a venue to share information and ideas.

From September 24 to the 25, Los Angeles, California will host "Envision the Future 2012: Translating Research into Healthy Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Communities." For more information, visit their website here: LINK

The following weekend on September 29, South Seattle Community College will host ASPIRE 2012 (the Annual Summit for Pacific Islander Resources and Education).  The organizers of ASPIRE 2012 write that this is the first gathering of its kind in the State of Washington. Here's their website for more information: LINK

Kawika

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Infographic: National Study on Pacific Islander eligibility for underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships

(Click infographic to view larger image)

Here's another infographic illustrating the findings of our national study on whether underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships recognize the fact that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented.  While recognition of Pacific Islander underrepresentation has increased since the last study, most of these programs still don't include Pacific Islanders in their definition of "underrepresented minority."

We've started reaching out to these scholarships and fellowships, and hope that after looking at the facts (like 20-plus years of Census data demonstrating Pacific Islander underrepresentation among college graduates), the 56 percent that exclude Pacific Islanders will choose to include us instead.

Kawika

(Are you from an academic program for underrepresented minorities?  Thank you for visiting! We've set up a special Q and A section written specifically for you.  Click here to see it: LINK)

Saturday, September 08, 2012

National Report on Pacific Islander ACT Scores














ACT Inc. (the company that administers the ACT, which is one of two nationally recognized standardized tests used to measure college readiness) recently released a report on college readiness, measured by the scores of high school seniors who took the ACT. They analyzed their findings in a number of ways, including breaking the scores down by race and ethnicity. 

We were pleased to see that they continue to recognize that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are a distinct, unique racial group, and keep our data separate from Asian Americans and other racial groups.  This is important, because it allows policymakers and others to see how Pacific Islanders are doing according to one measurement of college readiness. 

As you can see from the graph above (or view it here: LINK), Pacific Islander ACT scores are most similar to American Indian and Alaska Natives, and Hispanics, two other underrepresented minority groups.  

Average ACT Scores by Race and Ethnicity
  • Asian: 23.6 percent
  • White: 22.4 percent
  • Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders: 19.8 percent
  • Hispanic: 18.9 percent
  • American Indian and Alaska Native: 18.4 percent
  • African American: 17 percent

To read the entire report for yourself, click here: LINK

Kawika

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Infographic on Underrepresentation of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders

--Click on infographic to view larger image--

Last week's infographic was a summary of the two main facts we're trying to inform people about: 1.) Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented, but 2.) they're excluded from applying to the majority of scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities.  

For the sake of simplicity, this infographic focuses on the first point.  The data is pulled from U.S. Census data published here in 2011: LINK 

While the exact percentages change slightly now and then, they have been fairly consistent for the past 20 years. Click here to see that data: LINK  Throughout those two decades, Pacific Islander college graduation rates (at the 4-year-level) have been 40 to 50 percent lower than the national average.  

A number of factors influence this significant rate of underrepresentation, and the fact that we're unable to apply to most scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities only makes it worse. Let's hope that will change as those programs look at the data and decide whether to recognize that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher education. 

Kawika
(If you're part of a scholarship or fellowship programs for underrepresented minorities, thank you for visiting!  We made a special page written with you in mind.  Please click here to check it out: LINK)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Infographic: Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher ed, but can't apply to most underrepresented minority programs

click infographic to view larger image

For those who prefer a visual representation to a written narrative, here's an infographic describing 1.) Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander underrepresentation among college graduates and 2.) our findings that most underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships don't include Pacific Islanders as an eligible group.

Kawika  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

National Study on Pacific Islander Access to Underrepresented Minority Scholarships and Fellowships: access rising, but most still exclude Pacific Islanders

The Pacific Islander Access project's mission is to expand higher education opportunities for America's growing Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander community.

We maintain this blog to raise awareness about the Pacific Islander American community in general, but we are particularly concerned about one specific problem that holds our community back:

Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher education, but they are excluded from applying to many scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities.

Earlier this month, I blogged about the 2004 study that took me down the path that led to the creation of the Pacific Islander Access project.  While that study's findings are still important, we wanted to show you where the numbers are today.  Our question was simple: how many scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities are still excluding Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders from applying?

We looked at 50 scholarships and fellowships from across the United States, all of whom either limited access or gave a strong stated preference to underrepresented minorities.  We then looked at how those organizations -- in their own words -- defined "underrepresented."  This definition matters greatly, because if a program is limited to underrepresented minority applicants, and their definition of "underrepresented minority" excludes Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, then Pacific Islanders can't apply...even though they're underrepresented.

Here's what we found:

2012 National Study on Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander Access to Scholarships and Fellowships for Underrepresented Minorities

  • 28 percent recognize that Pacific Islanders are underrepresented
  • 56 percent continue to exclude all Pacific Islanders
  • 16 percent include some Pacific Islander sub-groups, but do not recognize that Pacific Islanders, as a whole, are an underrepresented group
We have a lot to say about the results of this study (and we'll do follow up posts on our findings), but here are the two main points:
  1. Once again, research shows that despite decades worth of data confirming that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher education, they cannot even apply for many scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities. 
  2. On the other hand, this study also demonstrates that a growing number of underrepresented minority programs do recognize Pacific Islander underrepresentation -- the rate of recognition rose from 21 percent in 2004, to 28 percent in 2012.  This is slow progress, but it's progress nonetheless.
Now that we've finished this study, the Pacific Islander Access project is going to work to raise awareness about it, and to contact the programs included in our study.  We've already written to the forward-thinking programs that recognize Pacific Islander underrepresentation.  We've also shared our data with the programs that only recognize certain Pacific Islander sub-groups.  

And of course, we'll be reaching out to the programs that still exclude Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.  We're letting them know about our study, sharing data on Pacific Islander underrepresentation, and asking them to make the right choice.  We'll keep you posted on our progress. 

Mahalo for reading.

Kawika

--At this time, I also want to give a special thanks to Karin Karpin, my principle assistant for this study.  Karin joined the P.I.A. project as an intern several years ago, and has since risen to be our vice president and a member of our board of directors. Her help with this research project was invaluable, as were her ideas and enthusiasm as we completed this national study.  

Karin will soon begin her first semester in medical school, and I know she'll excel as a scholar and physician.  Mahalo Karin!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pacific Islander Charter School Opens in Utah

I'd planned on following last week's post (on the 2004 study which showed that most underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships don't recognize that Pacific Islanders are underrepresented) with an entry on the 2012 research we've done on the same topic.  All of us at the Pacific Islander Access project are excited to share that with you, but we saw a story in the news that we had to blog about.

The story? It's about how a small group of Pacific Islander Americans in Salt Lake City have founded a charter school focused on a steeped in the values of the Pacific Islander community.  I believe that they are the first to do this in the Continental U.S., but I'd bet that they found some inspiration in the Native Hawaiian charter school movement that is alive and thriving in Hawaii.

Congrats to the founders of the Pacific Heritage Academy!  We wish them and their scholars the best of luck. While they're focusing on providing an effective and culturally relevant education for the next generation of Pacific Islander Americans, the P.I.A. project will be doing our part to increase their graduates' access to scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities.

Kawika

-- To read the story, click here: LINK
-- To learn more about the Pacific Heritage Academy, click here: LINK

Saturday, August 04, 2012

2004 Study on Pacific Islander Access to Academic Programs for Underrepresented Minorities

Growing up as a Native Hawaiian in Hawaii, I didn't need to be told that my community was less represented among college graduates and less likely to "succeed" by many standards.  But when I attended college on the mainland, I was exposed to new facts and a strange idea: first, I learned about the hard stats on the underrepresentation of all Pacific Islanders, Native Hawaiians included.

The strange idea? I was told by a well-intentioned executive at a program for underrepresented minorities that, according to their policy, "Hawaiians are Pacific Islanders, and Pacific Islanders are Asian/Pacific Islanders... and Asian Pacific Islanders are not underrepresented." By that logic, Native Hawaiians weren't underrepresented... even though we were.  

As a McNair Scholar, I was blessed with the resources to conduct a year-long quantitative study to delve into this question: on a national level, did scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities realize that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders were underrepresented?  

I found that, overwhelmingly, the answer was no.  The following data represents the findings from my national sample.

2004 findings on Pacific Islander access to scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities
  • 21 percent recognized that Pacific Islanders were underrepresented
  • 64 percent excluded Pacific Islanders from definition of underrepresented
  • 15 percent recognized some Pacific Islander sub-groups, but excluded others
I was shocked by this information, but I was also excited about the opportunity to raise awareness.  I published my findings in the McNair Journal; won a series of research awards for my study; wrote guest columns in national and international niche publications; and helped a Hawaii State legislator draft a Resolution that was adopted by the State House of Representatives.  In every one of those areas, I was successful, but I felt like a failure in the most important area: the underrepresented minority programs seemed to be maintaining their policies of excluding Pacific Islanders. 

As I've told you in my personal story about why the P.I.A. project matters to me, this was my motivation to found this nonprofit: to raise awareness about Pacific Islander underrepresentation in higher education, in order to reduce -- and someday eliminate -- our exclusion from academic programs for underrepresented minorities.

2004 was eight years ago, so it's fair to ask: Are Pacific Islanders still excluded from most academic programs for underrepresented minorities?  Have the programs made progress in recognizing Pacific Islander underrepresentation?

The Pacific Islander Access project has pondered those questions, and this summer we completed an updated national study.  Next week I'll tell you our findings.

Kawika

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Native Hawaiian Roll Commission

As we've mentioned before, America has one of the biggest Pacific Islander populations in the world primarily because several Pacific Islander communities are indigenous to land that is now part of the United States.  This includes the Samoans of American Samoa, and the Chamorros of Guam, and (the largest of the three) Hawaii's Native Hawaiians.

Unlike the other two major indigenous groups from the 50 States (American Indians and Alaska Natives), Native Hawaiians lack federal recognition. Hawaii's elected officials -- Democrat and Republican alike -- have tried to remedy this inequity on a national level, but after over a decade of Congressional inaction, the State of Hawaii took matters into its own hands.  Now, while Hawaiians and their allies continue to pursue federal recognition, Hawaii is already in the process of organizing a state recognized Native Hawaiian governing entity.

Hawaiians took another major step in that direction last week, by launching a year-long campaign to create a roll of Native Hawaiians who will be eligible to participate in the state-recognized governing entity. I was proud to sign up and register my son through the online form here (link).

When affixing my (electronic) signature to this roll, I couldn't help but think of my great-great-grandfather, a Native Hawaiian saloon owner from Maui, who was one of the tens of thousands of Hawaiians to sign the "Ku'e" petitions reaffirming their support for the Hawaiian Kingdom, which had recently been overthrown.  While I never met him, I was filled with pride when I saw his signature on the microfilm at the National Archives.

It took a lot more guts for him to sign his petition -- the men who overthrew the Kingdom now regulated his saloon -- than it did for me to join the roll.  Still, I hope that generations from now, my family will take some pride in how our 'ohana was part of restoring recognition for our people.

For my fellow Native Hawaiians reading this, I urge you to register, and pass the information on to your 'ohana. For those who aren't Native Hawaiian, but want to support this effort, you can affirm your support on this petition (link), or register your organization as a sponsor or supporter of this campaign (link).

Kawika


--  To learn more about the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, click here: LINK

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pacific Islander America: Arkansas Continued

Last week we blogged about a New York Times article regarding the Marshall Islander community of Northwest Arkansas, which is the largest outside of the Pacific.  Those who have been following our posts shouldn't be surprised that the U.S. claims some of the largest communities of Polynesians, Micronesians, or Melanesians: after all, this nation has one of the largest Pacific Islander populations in the world.

One anecdote in the New York Times article was about the fact that Marshall Islanders have trouble with basic language barriers, such as the driver's license test.  This column, from the Arkansas Times, goes into more detail about that: LINK

While driver's licenses are important (especially in rural communities where driving is necessary for work), I wonder how the community is preparing for the higher education needs of this growing population? What higher education recruitment, retention, and graduation programs are in place to help Arkansas's Marshall Islander Americans succeed?

Kawika

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pacific Islander America: New York Times reports on Arkansas's Pacific Islanders

Earlier this month, the New York Times wrote a feature on Arkansas's growing community of Marshall Islanders, which is the largest anywhere outside of the Pacific Islands.  

You can read that article here: LINK

For our earlier blogs on Arkansas's Pacific Islander population, click here: LINK

Kawika

Sunday, July 08, 2012

How Many Pacific Islander Executive Officers work at Fortune 500 Companies?

Recently, LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc.) published a study on Asian and Pacific Islander representation among the Executive Officers and top earners at Fortune 500 companies (America's 500 largest companies, ranked by revenue). In promoting the report, LEAP focused on their finding that Asians and Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in the executive boardrooms of the largest, wealthiest companies.

Specifically, they determined that only 2 percent of the executives and top earners at Fortune 500 were Asian or Pacific Islander.

Those of who regularly read our blog could guess my first question: of that 2 percent, how many were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander? Is this one of those studies where we can't answer that question, because the organization or researcher didn't bother to distinguish between Pacific Islanders and Asians?

LEAP didn't just distinguish between Pacific Islanders and Asians; actually they went one step further.  If you read their report (available here), you'll see that they break down exactly which Asian sub groups and Pacific Islander sub groups were included in that 2 percent (99 top executives total). Here are the figures:
  • Asian Indian: 51
  • Chinese: 24
  • Korean: 11
  • Japanese: 8
  • Pakistani: 2
  • Vietnamese: 2
  • Filipino: 1

Description: 2011_LEAP_FORTUNE500_Figure5.jpg



Don't see any Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders? That's because they didn't find any. According to this study, there are no Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander executive officers or top earners working for the Fortune 500.

That's not to say that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders aren't founding and running successful businesses across the nation.  Census data shows that between 2002 and 2007, the number of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander-run businesses grew by over 30 percent. During the same five-year-period, the value of theses businesses grew by over 50 percent.

This mix of evidence suggests -- at least to me -- that Pacific Islanders are starting, managing, and growing businesses in the U.S., but this is happening on the small-businesses level.  As for the biggest businesses (at least the biggest 500), Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are woefully, and completely, unrepresented.

Kawika
  • Here's a link to the LEAP report: LINK
  • And here's the Census report on Pacific Islander American businesses: LINK

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Huffington Post blogs on Hawaiians in California

As we've mentioned before (we'll link to some of the earlier posts at the bottom of this one), California is a place that many Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders call home.  This is both a modern and historic phenomenon: Hawaiians have been living in what is now California for over a century-and-a-half.

As mentioned in this recent Huffington Post blog post, a team of writers and researchers have written a book about the lives of California's Native Hawaiian community.  I haven't read the book so I can't speak to its merits, but I'm pleased to see someone take up the topic.  Learn more or get a copy yourself by following this link: LINK

Kawika

If you read the book, let us know what you think!


Also, if you're looking for other literature on the history of Native Hawaiian pioneers living in the West Coast, here are two other options: "Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest" and "Leaving Paradise: Indigenous Hawaiians in the Pacific Northwest, 1787-1898." 


Here are some previous blog posts on California's growing community of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders:

  • Pacific Islander America: California: LINK
  • California updates terminology in law to teach students about Pacific Islander American history: LINK
  • California passes new law to improve data on Pacific Islanders and Asians: LINK
  • A few more stories: Pacific Islander America, California: LINK

Sunday, June 24, 2012

America has one of the biggest Pacific Islander communities in the world. Why?

Last week, we blogged about how the U.S. has one of the largest Pacific Islander communities in the world. It's fair to ask this question as a follow up:

Why?

A variety of factors play a role, such as a desire for economic opportunity, religion, language, and immigration policy. But in my view, here are the two biggest reasons why America has the second largest Pacific Islander community in the world.

1.) A strong and growing base of Pacific Islanders who are indigenous to land that is now part of the U.S.

The average Pacific Islander American did not "come to" the United States; the United States came to them.  The majority of Pacific Islanders who live in the 50 states are descended from the original people of Pacific Islands that are now part of the United States: Native Hawaiians (Hawaii), Samoans (American Samoa), Chamorros/Guamanians (Guam), and Mariana Islanders (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).  According to data from the 2010 Census, these four groups make up as much as 70 percent of America's Pacific Islander American community. These indigenous communities are living and growing parts of our nation.

2.) Special relationships with Pacific Island nations that allow for easy immigration into the U.S.

In addition to those Americans who are indigenous to the U.S. Pacific Islands, many Micronesian Americans have been able to immigrate to the 50 states without the restrictions that limit most non-citizens, due to the special relationship between the U.S. and the former United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, which was administered by the United States. (That area now consists of one U.S. Commonwealth -- The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands -- and three countries that are in free association with the United States: The Federated States of Micronesia, The Republic of The Marshall Islands, and The Republic of Palau.)

When you combine the populations of Pacific Islanders who are indigenous to the U.S. Pacific Islands with those who are indigenous to the Freely Associated States, you're looking as much as three-quarters of the Pacific Islander population residing in the 50 states.

To sum it up: What are two of the biggest reasons why America has the second biggest Pacific Islander population?  1.) Most Pacific Islander Americans are indigenous to land that is now part of the United States, or 2.) land that is now in free association with the U.S.

Kawika

Want to see the breakdown of America's Pacific Islander population?  Click here, and scroll over to page 14: LINK

Note: While American Samoa is part of the United States, Samoa consists of two political bodies: the Independent State of Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), and the unincorporated territory of American Samoa. 


Here's a Wiki on the term "Free Association"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

World's Largest Pacific Islander Communities

Which of the following countries has the largest Pacific Islander population?

A.) Samoa
B.) Tonga
C.) Fiji
D.) The United States of America

You might think it'd be one of these Pacific Island nations, but the answer is D.) USA.

In fact, the United States has a bigger Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander community than all of those other nations combined. Alongside Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, the U.S.A. has one of the largest Pacific Islander populations in the world.

Kawika

Want to see the sources and the math for yourself? I've written out the math below, and hyperlinked to our sources: 

  • Samoa has a population of 183,000, of which 99 percent are Samoan or other Pacific Islander (181,170)
  • Tonga has a population of 105,000, of which 98 percent are Tongan (102,900)
  • Fiji has a population of 851,000, of which 57 percent are Fijian (485,070)

181,170 + 102,900 + 485,070 = 769,140


By comparison, the US counts over 1,200,000 Pacific Islanders in the 50 states


What about Papua New Guinea and New Zealand?

  • Papua New Guinea is home to 6.8 million people, of which 99 percent are Papua New Guinean (6.73 million). Papua New Guinea is the only place in the world I'm aware of that has a larger Pacific Islander population than the US.
  • New Zealand has a population of 4.4 million residents, of which 15 percent are Maori and 7 percent are other Pacific Islanders (968,000). Their Pacific Islander population is comparable, though clearly smaller, than the US.
(Did we miss a country with a bigger PI population than the US?  If you think so, let us know!)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

U.S. Census blogs about Pacific Islander Americans

Aloha!  We wanted to share a blog post that relates closely to our efforts to raise awareness about America's growing Pacific Islander community.

Loyal readers have seen our previous posts about the U.S. Census Bureau's recent paper on Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander data from the 2010 Census.  Yesterday, the Census blogged about that study.  I encourage you to read their post, which is available here: LINK  They don't get into educational attainment stats, but there's valuable information about the changing demographics within the Pacific Islander American community.

For 20-plus years worth of Census data on Pacific Islander underrepresentation in higher education, just visit this post we wrote earlier: LINK

Kawika 

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Pacific Islander Americans: Population Size

Thanks to the U.S. Census Bureau's recent report on Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, we have a new population count for Pacific Islanders in the 50 States: 1,225,195.  This is a 40 percent increase from 2000, when our population was still under one million. (These figures do not include Pacific Islanders residing in the U.S. Pacific Territories, such as American Samoa or Guam.)  By comparison, the overall rate of population growth in the U.S. was just under ten percent.

At 1.2 million, Pacific Islanders remain the smallest of the five major racial groups.  Still, when you compare our population size in other ways, it's clear that even in pure numbers, we're an important part of America that shouldn't be ignored.  For example:

  • Comparing Pacific Islander Americans to States: We'd be bigger than seven states: Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, and Vermont.  We're also nearly twice the size of the District of Columbia's resident population. (Here's Wikipedia's list of states.)
  • Comparing Pacific Islander Americans to Branches of the Military: The Pacific Islander community is significantly larger than any single branch of the U.S. military (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard).  Our population is about 15 percent smaller than the total number of active duty military in each branch combined (1.2 million Pacific Islanders in the 50 states vs. 1.4 million active duty, according to Wikipedia's figures on the U.S. Armed Forces). 
  • Comparing Pacific Islander Americans to known professions: According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Pacific Islanders in the U.S. is significantly larger than the number of police officers and detectives (1.2 million vs. 794,300), physicians and surgeons (1.2 million vs. 610,000), or professional firefighters (1.2 million vs. 310,400).

This isn't to say that the issues facing Pacific Islanders are any more or less important than the needs of any of the groups mentioned here.  The point is that we shouldn't discount Pacific Islander Americans on account of our population size alone -- because by that logic, we'd have to ignore other critical parts of our community that make us who we are as a nation.

Kawika

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day and Pacific Islander Americans

On this Memorial Day, the Pacific Islander Access project would like to extend our thanks and respect to all of the warriors who are serving or have served our country; and to their families, for the sacrifices they have made as well.

Military service is one of the many ways that America's growing Pacific Islander population gives back to the country we call our own. According to recent reports, American Samoa holds the solemn distinction of having lost more of its citizens in the post-9/11 conflicts, per capita, than any State or Territory (NBC: Eager to serve in American Samoa, but strong civic duty often extracts the heaviest price).  After American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia are next (TIME: A Micronesian Paradise: For Military Recruiters).  In addition, according to a study by the Heritage Foundation, Pacific Islanders are more overrepresented in military service than any other major racial group (Table: Who Bears the Burden).

But behind the statistics, there are troops, veterans, proud parents, and loved ones who long to see their warriors again.  In many cases they return home and are able to rebuild their lives, using earned benefits like the GI Bill.  But on Memorial Day in particular, we should show respect to the fact that unfortunately it's not always a happy ending.  One reminder comes from stories like this one, in yesterday's issue of the Austin Statesman, regarding a Samoan father -- a veteran himself -- coping with having lost his son in combat: LINK

Kawika


Saturday, May 26, 2012

San Diego State University Recognizes Pacific Islander Underrepresentation

San Diego State University is the latest school to win the Pacific Islander Access project's praise for recognizing that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher education.  Word came from this article in the San Diego Union-Tribune on on SDSU is narrowing the graduation gap between the general population and their underrepresented minority students.  To quote the article:

Underrepresented minorities are defined as African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders.

According to the 2010 Census, San Diego County has the fifth largest Pacific Islander population in the United States (trailing three Hawaii counties and LA). In addition, SDSU has the distinction of being one of the few universities with its own program (the SDSU Center for Pacific Studies) dedicated to studying the Pacific Islands and its people.

Kawika

Here are links to previous posts we've written on universities that recognize that Pacific Islanders are underrepresented: UCLA, USC, and Sacramento State 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Higher Education: Costs, Value, and a Birthday

Last week I was sure that our next post would be on the U.S. Census Bureau's recently released paper on Pacific Islanders, but it's not.  Instead, this post sort of wrote itself over the course of the week, in three parts: the newspaper on my neighbor's door, a blog post in the Harvard Business Review, and a good friend's birthday.

First, the Newspaper: Last Sunday, when returning from an errand with my son over my shoulder, I saw the Sunday edition of the New York Times on my neighbor's doormat. The front page story was "Student Loans Weighing Down a Generation With Heavy Debt." We've blogged about student loans before (even regarding NY Times articles on the subject), and while much of the article was old news, I thought it was a well written overview of how student loan debt is impacting students, graduates, dropouts, parents, and our nation's economy.

I encourage you to read the whole article yourself, but here are the main things that struck me:
  • National student loan debt is greater than $1 trillion dollars, and it's growing
  • For all borrowers, the average debt in 2011 was $23,300
  • Two factors in rising student debt: state and local government spending per student is at a 25-year-low, while tuition is rising so fast it's on track to double over a fifteen year period
  • The student loan default rate doubled in four years (2005 to 2009) -- nearly one in ten borrowers in 2009 defaulted within two years
Certainly these kinds of numbers can make reasonable people question whether college is a sound investment, given the rising cost and uncertain benefit. 

That brings me to the Blog, which arrived in my inbox on Wednesday. I subscribe to the Harvard Business Review's "Daily Stat" blog.  Wednesday's stat was "Though Tuition is Rising, the Value of Education is Rising Too."  It summarized a recent study that looked at the tuition, student loans, and income outcomes for people at different levels of education.  Their summary:

Despite wage declines in entry-level jobs and steep increases in tuition, college is still a good investment in the U.S.: The earnings premium for a college degree relative to a high school degree has nearly doubled in the past three decades, say Christopher Avery of Harvard University and Sarah Turner of the University of Virginia. Government statistics show that the jobless rate is 4.4% for college grads and 7.6% for people who attended college but didn't achieve bachelors degrees.
Source: Student Loans: Do College Students Borrow Too Much—Or Not Enough?












In other words, the cost is rising, but so is the payoff.

Today's students need to think carefully not just about how they'll get into college, and which college they'll attend, but also how they will afford it.  Tuition and related expenses are a factor, but so is access to financial aid.  Students from underrepresented communities -- who are less likely to have parents who went to college, and more likely to live below the poverty line -- can face additional challenges, but they should be certain to take advantage of the scholarships, fellowships, and academic support programs for underrepresented minorities.  (By the way, Pacific Islanders are underrepresented, but they are excluded from applying to many of these programs.)

And for those students who have to choose between no college and no loans, or college and student debt, they still can choose how to approach their payments.  This leads me to the Birthday: a very good friend of mine turns 30 this weekend.

Nathan and I went to college and grad school together. To finance his masters degree, he took out a lot of student loans. 80 weeks shy of turning 30, he was unemployed and stuck with hefty student loan payments.  I was worried for him, and shocked that he was in that situation: After graduating with a double major in theatre and political science, Nathan earned a graduate degree from a top 50 national university, was Class President of its School of Public Policy, and had worked his way up from intern to social media director for a high-ranking Congresswoman.

But now he was having trouble finding work and making his minimum payments. His solution -- to solve this problem -- was to set a more ambitious goal: rather than scraping by, he'd resolve to be debt free by 30, somehow paying down nearly $900 a week in addition to the rest of life's expenses.  He had 80 weeks to do it, and he wanted to chronicle his experiences through a blog called 80till30.

Nathan's approaching week 80 -- which is when he turns 30.  He was still short of being debt free last time I checked, but in the meantime, he moved to Alaska, got engaged, and started a businesses.  If you read his website, you'll see that as an entrepreneur he incorporates all the things he learned in college -- his ability to quantitatively demonstrate success or failure; his ability to incorporate theatrical elements in web videos and understand the policy-based and political elements of communicating for his clients -- into a growing, successful small businesses. In his case, Nathan is using his education to pay off his student loans, and as you can see from the web videos on his blog, he's enjoying life along the way.

That's it for this week.

Kawika

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The P.I.A. project and Mother's Day

While we've already issued our post of the week (available here), I wanted to write a something in honor of Mother's Day.  While no one needs a diploma to love their child, studies support what most all of us already know to be true: when mothers invest in their own education, it pays off for them, their kids, and future generations.

Here are news articles over the past few years citing specific areas where this is true:
  • Reducing infant mortality and improving child health in the third world: LINK
  • Ending the cycle of multi-generational poverty here in the USA: LINK
  • Improving their child's or children's chances at excelling in school: LINK
  • Readiness for their first year of school: LINK
The list goes on and on, but the point is that when mothers are educated, their children and grandchildren reap the benefits.  In a larger sense, all of us do.

And with that, I'm finishing this post. My son is sleeping in my arms as I awkwardly type, and that usually ends with spelling errors, a waking baby, or both! I'm going to get back to helping around the house, so that the mother of my child (and the P.I.A. project's CFO) can continue to enjoy some much-deserved down time. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Kawika

Saturday, May 12, 2012

New 2010 Census Data on Pacific Islander Americans

Last week we highlighted the Census Bureau's "Facts for Features" on Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.  In the few days between that post and this one, the U.S. Census Bureau released additional data.

Let me tell you about it!

This week the U.S. Census Bureau released a paper (the Census calls this kind of paper a "brief") based on 2010 Census data on Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.  We'll be highlighting different aspects of this paper and other Census data in future posts, but for now I wanted to give you access to the paper, the accompanying release, and an article on it written in The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Hawaii's only statewide daily print newspaper.

  • The brief is here: LINK
  • The release is here: LINK
  • The Honolulu Star-Advertiser's homepage is here, and the article is pasted below. 


Let me know what you think!

Kawika
----

May 9, 2012


Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander population swells


Census numbers show 1.2 million in the nation, a climb of 40 percent in 10 years


By Susan Essoyan


The number of people reporting that they are of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander ancestry jumped 40 percent over the last decade across the United States and by 28 percent in the state, according to new data from the Census Bureau. 


"It's positive to see the growth of Native Hawaiians not only in Hawaii, but across the U.S. continent," said Kamana'opono Crabbe, chief executive officer of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. "Even though Native Hawaiians intermarry, there seems to be this self-definition of Native Hawaiian ancestry and identity." 


Overall, 1.2 million people identified as Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, either alone or in combination with other races, in the United States in 2010. That's still a tiny fraction - 0.4 percent - of the U.S. population, but it's a big increase from 874,414 in 2000. Meanwhile the U.S. population grew by 9.7 percent over the same period. 


According to a U.S. Census brief, "The Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Population: 2010," released Tuesday, Hawaii and California accounted for just over half of that population - 52 percent. The next-largest Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander populations were in Washington state, Texas and Florida. 


The top 10 counties illustrate the shift. While Oahu and the island of Hawaii still boast the largest numbers of Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, Los Angeles County placed third, edging out Maui County, which was followed by San Diego County. 


"It presents some challenges for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in terms of improving conditions for Native Hawaiians," Crabbe said. "How do we connect, how do we network?... We cannot ignore the growing population on the continent." 


The growth in the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander populations can be attributed to a variety of factors, including intermarriage, greater self-identification, a relatively youthful population with higher birthrates as well as immigration by Pacific Islanders. 


Within the Native Hawaiian/Pacific Island category, Native Hawaiians make up the largest group and grew by 31 percent nationwide over the decade, to 527,077. In Hawaii their numbers rose 21 percent to 289,970, according to an analysis of census data released by the state Department of Business and Economic Development and Tourism. 


Native Hawaiians, however, were outpaced in growth by other Pacific Islanders, including Samoans, Tongans, and Guamanians/Chamorros. 


Guamanians were the fastest growing group, soaring by 60 percent nationally and 58 percent in Hawaii between 2000 and 2010. Broader academic options and economic opportunity are likely draws for Guamanians moving to the United States. 


Rebecca San Agustin followed the trend, coming to Hawaii in 2008 for college. She is about to graduate from Chaminade University with a degree in accounting and is planning to stay, having already lined up an internship with Deloitte as she moves on to graduate school.


"From personal observation there's definitely more jobs here in Hawaii and on the mainland than there will ever be on the tiny island of Guam," San Agustin, 22, said. "From what I've heard from the majority of people who have gone to school outside of Guam, they are deciding to stay and find jobs on the mainland or in Hawaii." 


The same happens for Native Hawaiians who move to the mainland for school or jobs and then end up putting down roots, Crabbe noted. Their numbers are growing rapidly in the South and the Midwest, as well, he added. 


"Close to half of the population of Native Hawaiians lives on the continent, and just over 50 percent continue to live here despite the economic challenges," Crabbe said. "There has been a high enrollment of Native Hawaiians in the military, so over the years the trend has been for their families also to go with them." 


Back in the islands, Native Hawaiians rank fourth among ethnic groups, after Caucasians, Filipinos and Japanese, according to Eugene Tian, administrator for research and economic analysis in the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. In the past decade Filipinos moved to second from third place, swapping positions with the Japanese.


We knew a few years ago that the Filipino population was going to overtake the Japanese," Tian said. "The main reason is the immigration." 

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Updated Census data re-confirms Pacific Islander underrepresentation in higher education

This month, America observes Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.  Accordingly, the U.S. Census Bureau has released updated data on Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans.  You can read their whole release here, but I'm happy to highlight the parts that are most relevant to the P.I.A. project's mission to expand higher educational opportunity for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders by ending their exclusion from academic programs for underrepresented minorities.

Are Pacific Islanders still underrepresented in higher education?


They sure are.

The 2012 release finds that 15 percent of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander adults (25-or-older) have at least a bachelors degree.  By comparison, 28 percent of the general U.S. population has at least a bachelors. This is consistent with the data we've blogged about before.

For advanced degrees: 4 percent of Pacific Islanders have an advanced degree, which is less than half of the national average (10 percent).

Want to see historical data on Pacific Islander underrepresentation in higher education?

Click here to view more than 20 years worth: LINK

Kawika

Link to this year's U.S. Census Bureau "Facts for Features" on Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: LINK

Sunday, April 29, 2012

UCLA Recognizes Pacific Islander Underrepresentation

This year we highlighted two universities (Sacramento State and the University of Southern California) that recognize Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders as an underrepresented group, and are focusing resources towards America's growing Pacific Islander community. Those universities are far from alone, and over time we hope to give credit to all of the higher education institutions that are leading the way for their peers.  Next month we'll be writing posts related to Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, but before that we'll point out one more school: UCLA

Here are three examples of how the University of California, Los Angeles serves and advocates for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders:

  • They have a long history of recognizing Pacific Islander underrepresentation in higher education.  In 2006, UCLA's Asian American Studies Center published a white paper (which is still available here) on Pacific Islander higher education issues. 
  • The University's Pacific Islander Student Association (PISA) exists to advocate for the needs of UCLA's Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander student body, and to educate the greater university community about the cultures of those students. 
  • UCLA's student-founded, student-run Pacific Islander Education and Retention (PIER) program provides tutoring, academic advising, and other services to help Pacific Islander high school students in their local community. 

Kawika