This report on Asian Americans and the Covid-19 Pandemic describes lessons from a multilingual survey administered in Greater Boston during the Fall, Winter, and early Spring of 2020-21. The Institute for Asian American Studies (IAAS) at UMass Boston designed and administered the IAAS Covid-19 Survey on the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic for Asian Americans. The IAAS Covid-19 Survey was designed to fill significant gaps in data available from a previous Spring 2020 survey, Living in Boston During Covid-19, which was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and administered by UMass Boston’s Center for Survey Research (CSR) using its established Beacon methodology. The CSR collaborated with the Boston Area Research Indicators Project at Northeastern University to conduct this NSF Beacon Survey.
The NSF Beacon Survey aimed to provide data on pandemic experiences of residents in the City of Boston as a whole. The city-wide estimates were based on answers from 1626 respondents to questions about effects on their own health, economic well-being, opinions on health-promotion practices, and other topics. Although the NSF respondents self-identified their race-ethnicity, the information collected on Asian Americans was not representative of their very diverse income backgrounds. For example, in Boston, the proportion of Asian Americans with annual household incomes less than $30,000 is about 39 percent according to the population estimates of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), but only about 26 percent of Asian Americans in the NSF Beacon Survey sample reported this lower level of household income. The survey was not administered in any Asian languages and all Asian Americans were grouped together without differentiation of ethnicity, such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Asian Indian/South Asian, or Cambodian.
Wong, Carolyn and Kuang, Ziting, "Asian Americans and the COVID-19 pandemic: A Multi-Lingual Survey in Greater Boston" (2022). Institute for Asian American Studies Publications. 47.