New Research Highlights Housing Experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

The National Coalition of Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) and UCLA released a report, “Crisis to Impact: Reflecting on a Decade of Housing Counseling Services in Asian American Communities.” The report describes the experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) renters and homeowners. Using quantitative data and case studies of seven cities, the authors identify challenges faced by AAPI communities and provides recommendations to inform future policies and programming. The report finds that one in four AAPI households are severely housing cost-burdened, paying more than half of their income toward housing costs, though this varies widely across ethnic subgroups and geography.

Housing counseling agencies serve both renters and homeowners, offering services such as eviction prevention, homeownership education and counseling, and assistance to find safe and affordable housing. These agencies are particularly critical to help groups build wealth who have been historically barred from the housing market, including racial and ethnic minorities.

The report provides contextual information about AAPI populations using data from the American Community Survey, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, and HUD’s Housing Counseling Agency Activity Report. The researchers also conducted focus groups and interviews with housing counseling agency program staff in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Philadelphia, and Honolulu to identify unique needs and opportunities to better serve AAPI communities.

AAPI renters are severely cost-burdened at a high rate: 26% of Asian renters and 27% of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) renters are severely cost-burdened. Within the seven study regions, cost-burden varied significantly by ethnicity. Bangladeshi, Vietnamese, and Pakistani renters experience the highest rates of severe cost-burden, at 41%, 34%, and 34%, respectively. Low-to-moderate income AAPI households are also significantly less likely to own homes compared to white households of the same income group. Among low-to-moderate households within the seven study regions, 37% of Asian households and 22% of NHOPI households owned homes, compared to 53% of white households.

AAPI households face other unique housing challenges. Fifty-four percent of severely cost-burdened AAPI households are limited English proficient, making it more difficult to access housing counseling services. AAPI households are also more likely to live in multigenerational households, which can lead to overcrowding. Asian and NHOPI individuals are four and seven times more likely, respectively, to live in a multigenerational household compared to whites.

National CAPACD housing counseling agencies are well-positioned to improve housing security for low-income AAPI households, but agencies can strengthen services in key areas to better meet the needs of the country’s growing AAPI population. The authors recommend that housing counseling agencies create programs to respond to growing immigrant and renter populations, increase culturally competent services and language access, and leverage local partnerships to better serve low-income AAPI communities. The report also emphasizes the importance of disaggregating data across ethnicities, noting that treating AAPI households as a monolith greatly overly simplifies AAPI experiences.

The report can be found at: