As Asian Americans experience racial and xenophobic bias during the COVID crisis it might help to pause and reflect on the implication of hate on the survival of the US economy and health infrastructure at this critical time.
22.6 million Asian Americans have close to a trillion dollars in income. To get a sense what this number means – if we rank states by GDP, only seven states, have a higher GDP than the aggregate income of Asian Americans in the United States (almost the size of Pennsylvania which makes up around 4 percent of the GDP of the US).
If we assume that a typical citizen pays around 25 percent in taxes, which is a fair assumption, given that Asian Americans have above average median household income in the country, then we can assume that Asian Americans contribute around $211 billion in taxes – almost as large as the GDP of Kentucky.
Asian Americans own $1.7 trillion in residential real estate making them a huge player in the residential real estate market in the US. Asian American renters pay $3.7 billion in rent to fellow American property owners every month.
Close to 2 million Asian American businesses employ 3.6 million Americans with an annual payroll of $110 billion. As a point of reference the Paycheck Protection Program funded by Congress tried to protect jobs with an investment of around $600 billion.
There are 11 million Asian Americans in the workforce. It is hard not to turn on the TV and not see an Asian American doctor, scientist, digital technology leader or educator helping build this country during the crisis. Then there are the millions of essential workers on the front line of the Covid War.
The next generation of the American workforce – 6.5 million Asian Americans in schools and universities – are already making a difference in the communities they live and study. Many of them are topping the academic charts.
Now think of this collective impact spread across the nation – the doctor’s office, the health care facility, the data center, the lab testing COVID samples, the grocery store, the manufacturing plant, the local restaurant, the area school, the local tax base. Hate will kill the US economy.
America – be careful. If hate succeeds and the Asian American economy is destroyed – the larger economy will swiftly follow. If collaboration and mutual respect prevails – you will find America continue to be the light to the nations.
I am glad so many people, institutions and leaders are choosing the path of collaboration and mutual respect.
A note on the numbers. The source of the data is the American Community Survey, 2018 for most of the data. The business data is from the Survey of Business Owners, 2012.