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Asian American Policy Review

Topic / Health

Debunking Model Minority: California Report Finds Differences in Health Outcomes within Asian American Community

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released findings from the most recent California Health Interview Survey (2011-2012) on various health indicators among adult Californians, including insurance status, nutrition, clinical health outcomes, health behaviors, food insecurity, and English proficiency.

Health profiles were published for all racial groups and provided disaggregated data for several Asian American communities. Below are some highlighted findings from the state ‘s survey:

  • There are approximately 4 million Asian Americans residing in California.
  • Sixty percent had employer-based health insurance (compared to 50% of Californians overall). However, after disaggregating by ethnicity, 39.8% of Koreans had employer-based insurance, 43.6% of Vietnamese, 60.6% of Chinese, 66.3% of Filipino, 69.8% of Japanese, 73.6% of South Asian, and 47.6% of “Other Asian”.
  • Compared to the average of all Asian American Medi-Cal (California Medicaid) beneficiaries (8.4%), 8.9% Filipino, 22.1% Vietnamese, and 14.4% of Other Asians had Medi-Cal coverage.
  • Over 20% of the Asian American community engaged in binge drinking, with the highest percentage among Filipino (31.1%) and lowest percentage among Vietnamese (13.9%).
  • Eight percent reported having food insecurity, with the highest percentage among Vietnamese (15.6%) and the lowest among Japanese (2.5%).
  • There were lower percentages of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and South Asian Californians engaging in regular walking in the past week compared to the average percentage among all Californian Asian Americans.

Furthermore, the Center’s analyses of the 2005 and 2009 California Health Interview Survey found a significant association between individuals with Limited English Proficiency and living in the US for less than five years AND having a usual source of care. Based on these findings, it is important for researchers, policymakers, practitioners and other stakeholders to consider disaggregated data by ethnic subgroup when determining equitable resource allocation and provision of culturally competent resources.