Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) elders face unique challenges to obtaining a high quality of life in their later years. AAPI elders are one of the fastest-growing groups of ethnic elderly in the U.S., yet they remain largely invisible. Today, roughly 3.5 million AAPIs aged 55 years and older and 1.7 million AAPIs aged 65 years and older live in the U.S. Over the next 50 years, the number of AAPIs aged 55 years and older is expected grow 240 percent and the number of AAPIs aged 65 years and older is expected to grow 352 percent. Although, the AAPI elderly population is rapidly increasing, their needs and concerns are not well-researched and, too often, are not addressed by current public policies.
Existing data on AAPI older adults is limited and does not highlight the diversity and inequities within the AAPI population. For example, 56 percent of AAPIs aged 55+ and 60 percent of AAPIs aged 65+ have limited English proficiency (LEP), compared to only 8 percent of the total U.S. elderly population (55+ and 65+). Among elderly AAPI sub-groups (55+ and 65+), however, LEP rates are as high as 90 percent. The disaggregated data reveal the need for linguistically appropriate services and resources for AAPI elders.
In 2010, data showed that about 10 percent of AAPI elders (55+ and 65+) were living below the Federal Poverty Level. Poverty rates among AAPI sub-groups (55+ and 65+), however, ranged from about one percent to almost 70 percent. While the aggregated data might not be as informative, the disaggregated data show that AAPIs are some of the poorest in the country.
Additionally, many AAPI elders are uninsured or rely on Medicare and Medicaid. Among elderly (55+ and 65+) AAPI sub-groups, as many as 32 percent do not have health insurance. Additionally, 38 percent of Asian Americans (65+) rely solely on Medicare. NAPCA strives to address these inequities within the AAPI elder population through its culturally- and linguistically-appropriate programs and services.