Asian Immigrant Experiences with Racism, Immigration-Related Fears, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

This analysis is based on a KFF survey of Asian patients at four community health centers: Asian Health Services in Alameda County, CA; North East Medical Services, in San Francisco, CA; HOPE Clinic in Houston, TX; and International Community Health Services (ICHS) in King County, WA. In 2019, these four health centers served a total of 154,604 patients, 117,617 of whom identified as non-Hispanic Asian, or 79% of patients with known race/ethnicity. Health centers do not collect information on patient immigration status, but nearly seven in ten patients at these health centers are best served in a language other than English.1 The survey instrument was designed by researchers at KFF in collaboration with staff at the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations and the community health centers who participated in the survey. Community health center staff translated the survey into Chinese (traditional), Vietnamese, Korean, and Burmese. Reflecting their patient demographics, Asian Health Services, North East Medical Services, and ICHS fielded the survey in English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean, while HOPE Clinic fielded the survey in English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Burmese.

The survey was conducted between February 15 and April 12, 2021 by health center staff. Over a third (34%) of respondents completed the survey in-person with clinic staff, 32% completed a paper version of the survey, 25% completed the survey online, and 7% completed the survey via phone. There were a total of 1,467 survey respondents. The analysis presented above was limited to 1,086 respondents who self-identified as Asian and indicated that they were a patient of one of the four health centers in their survey responses. Of those included in the analysis, 874 indicated that they were born outside the United States or Puerto Rico and 176 were born in the U.S. or Puerto Rico; 36 respondents did not answer the survey question on nativity.

This work was supported, in part, by the Blue Shield of California Foundation. We value our funders. KFF maintains full editorial control over all of its policy analysis, polling, and journalism activities. The authors thank the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) and community health center staff for their assistance developing and fielding the survey.


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