About Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
In the U.S., certain months are set aside to celebrate and honor different diversity groups. May is AAPI Heritage Month, also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Asian Pacific Americans account for nearly 5% of the American population and the group is projected to be the fastest-growing major population category over the next half-century, outpacing blacks, whites and Hispanics.
Recent Census Bureau projections show the Asian population could more than triple to 33 million in 2050.
[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]
The countries of origin that constitute Asian Pacific America are Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Samoa, Fiji, Guam, the U.S. Trust Territories of the Pacific or the Northern Marianas.
The effort to officially recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander contributions to the United States began in the late 1970s, and took over 10 years to make it a permanent month-long celebration.
To honor the achievements of Asian/Pacific Americans, the U.S. Congress designated the month of May as "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month" in 1992.
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month was renamed as AAPI Heritage Month in 2009.
In 1978, a joint congressional resolution established Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. The first 10 days of May were chosen to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants (May 7, 1843) and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad completed May 10, 1869.
In 1992, Congress expanded the observance to a monthlong celebration that is now known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Per a 1997 U.S. Office of Management and Budget directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was separated into two categories: one being Asian and the other Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. Thus, this Facts for Features contains a section for each.Find out more