AAPI Origins

Historically, Asians and Pacific Islanders were grouped together by government classifications and by the AAPI community, as part of an intentional community-based strategy to build coalitions with one another. More recently such groupings, while initially designed to promote inclusivity, have instead produced disparities. 

The term “AAPI”—or Asian American and Pacific Islander—encompasses a diverse and distinct group of identities and includes API diaspora, transcultural adoptees, bi-racial/multi-racial, and more. Commonly used regional groupings include:

  • East Asia: China, Japan, Korea, and more
  • South Asia: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and more
  • Southeast Asia: Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, and more
  • Pacific Islands: Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa, Guam, and more 
Between 2000–2019, the Asian population within the United States nearly doubled, growing from 11,900 to 22,400 (see Pew Research: Asian Americans).

AAPI in New Jersey

More than half the U.S. Asian American population is concentrated in just five states— California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington. New Jerseyans of Asian descent represent 10.4% of the state’s total population and are the fastest growing racial group today. Only two states—California and Hawaii—have a larger Asian American population as a percentage of their total population. 

Asian Americans live in all 21 NJ counties and in every part of the state. They are largely concentrated in the northern-central counties of Middlesex (24% of the total county population is Asian American), Bergen (16%), Hudson (15%), Somerset, Mercer, and Morris.

(Credit: Jersey Promise: A Report on the State of Asian Americans in New Jersey