May was Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and the Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs Program, headed by Raphael Ofendo Reyes, is CMA’s most recent addition to our minority advocacy community. We are working hard to provide the type of data CMA, other state agencies, legislators, community leaders, and actors in the private sector need to generate more inclusive policy positions and outreach. Our capacity to cater research and agency connections with select and diverse populations depends on our ability to know where they reside in the state. Therefore, using American Community Survey (ACS) Five-Year Population Estimates for 2015-2019, I have coded South Carolina’s census tracts according to which Asian American or Pacific Islander group is most populous in each geography.
This map resembles a kaleidoscope, underscoring just how geographically uneven and diverse South Carolina’s AA/PI community is. What it doesn’t show—and what other data we have does—is the level of AA/PI diversity within each census tract. On the one hand, it is quite common for many tracts, particularly in the larger metropolitan areas, to have AA/PI population breakdowns of, say, 25% Chinese, 18% Indian, 12% Filipino, 9% Korean, and so on. The proportions may be different, and one group may trump the others, but several AA/PI groups cohabitate in relatively equal portions within one tract. On the other hand, and this is particularly the case of census tracts in less populated regions, for every single individual estimated to be residing therein pertains to one ethnic group. I am currently coding data to develop measures of AA/PI diversity for each census tract and look forward to sharing that in the future. If you would like more specific data related to the internal diversity of the state’s census tracts, or maps of individual group dispersion, please contact our office and we would be glad to help.
Source: American Community Survey, Five-Year Estimates, 2015-2019, B02015 and B02016
Detailed Race Tables for Asian Americans and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders.
Data mapped in R Studio with the “tmap” package. Shapefiles for US Census Tracts downloaded from the US Census Bureaus’ Tiger/Line Cartographic Boundary Shapefile repository (see: https://www.census.gov/geographies/mapping-files/time-series/geo/cartographic-boundary.html).