198238 How does disability affect employment inequities among U.S. Asians and Pacific Islanders? Results from an analysis of national 2005 PUMS data

Monday, November 9, 2009

Peter J. Wong , Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California (APIDC)/UCLA Department of Urban Planning, Oakland, CA
Lois M. Takahashi, PhD , Department of Urban Planning, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
In the aggregate, Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) in the U.S. enjoy a higher employment rate, and higher household income levels than other racial/ethnic minorities. However, when disabilities are factored in, APIs trail far behind their minority and white/Caucasian counterparts. One recent study in California found that APIs with disabilities, with an employment rate of 27.4%, trailed behind disabled African Americans at 31.7% and Hispanics at 38.2%. The results point to a disturbing inequity – that APIs living with developmental, physical, and mental disabilities are less able to find work than other people of color with disabilities.

This study focuses on the factors that explain these racial/ethnic differences. The U.S. Census Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) is used to test several conceptual arguments to determine which best explains the relatively low levels of employment of APIs with disability compared to other racial/ethnic groups with disabilities. The 2005 PUMS is a 1% random sample of the U.S. population with approximately 1,159,000 household and 2,878,000 person records. Three conceptual models are tested: human capital (e.g., individual skills and education), “model minority” (e.g., educational attainment by family), and political economy (e.g., policy focus, such as disability insurance benefits). The results highlight the particular obstacles faced by APIs with disabilities in trying to attain employment and economic equity, and identify the most powerful conceptual model that explains these economic disparities for APIs with disabilities. Implications of these findings are provided for designing culturally appropriate and API-specific interventions.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to: (1) understand the factors that explain racial/ethnic differences in employment rates among individuals living with disabilities; and (2) identify conceptual arguments that best explain disparities among APIs with disabilities.

Keywords: Asian and Pacific Islander, Disability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Research Director of Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California (APIDC) and supervised all research activities for the project. Last fall, I first authored a chapter on disability and employment in the upcoming book “Asian American Communities and Health” edited by the Center for the Study of Asian American Health at the NYU Medical School. Recently, I presented two abstracts on Asian Pacific Islanders with disabilities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Summit: The Science of Eliminating Health Disparities, December 15-18, 2008.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.