The Status of Utah Asian Women

Last year, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute released a landmark databook on race, ethnicity, and sex. In that report they noted that Utah is becoming increasingly diverse, and this has brought wide disparities between most minority groups and the White population in terms of education, housing, and health outcomes. Although the Institute presented critical data to start the conversation more broadly, the Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) wanted to expand and deepen this discussion by focusing a series of research snapshots on Utah women of color. As the UWLP focuses on strengthening the impact of all Utah girls and women, research that increases our understanding of the status, condition, and experiences of girls and women within all social and identity groups—including race and ethnicity—is crucial.  

Often, research entities publish data on gender and race separately, leaving a gap of information and understanding on the intersection of gender and race/ethnicity. Yet, separate data do not give the community, decision makers, and policy makers the depth of information needed to design programs and policies that meet the diverse needs of all Utah women. To begin to close the data gap, this research snapshot is the second of five that detail the available data on Utah women of each Census race/ethnic category: Pacific Islander, Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American women. The data presented here include information from, among other sources, the 5-year US Census Microdata, Utah System of Higher Education, Utah Department of Corrections, and a number of Utah Department of Health offices, including Health Disparities, Vital Records and Statistics, and Public Health Assessment. 

Setting the Stage

Researchers use the US Census description for “Asian,” which is “A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.” Thus, while widely-used Census categories allow for data to be comparable across entities, the categories represent many different countries, cultures, and experiences and, in fact, the term “Asian” represents more than 20 different ethnicities and multiple geographical regions. This is important to remember as we describe data for the Asian subgroup, which represents a range of economically developing to higher-income nations.

Demographics 

Available demographic data on Utah Asian women include population size, household size, family household type, and marital status. 

  • Population Size: The Utah Asian population has seen steady growth over time and now comprises 2.5% of the Utah population 
  • Household Size: The average household size of Asian women in Utah is 2.8 persons, which is slightly larger than the average of 2.7 for Asian women across the US and in between 3.0 for Utah women and 2.5 for US women. 
  • Family Household Type: Almost 3 in 4 (79.9%) Utah Asian households consist of married couple families (compared to 81.7% of all Utah families and 82.1% of US Asian families). 
  • Marital Status: Just over 60.0% of Asian women in Utah are married, which is significantly higher than all US women (48.7%) and similar to all Utah women (56.9%). 

Health 

The Utah Department of Health’s Office of Health Disparities (OHD) exists to shed light on disproportionate health disparities by race, ethnicity, geography, and income, and thus has multiple reports comparing and analyzing health disparity profiles of Utah’s racial and ethnic minority communities. The following data on Asian women includes access to healthcare as well as various physical, reproductive, and mental health indicators. 

  • Access to Healthcare: Asian women in Utah are more likely to have health insurance (91.7%) than Utah women in general (88.8%). 
  • Physical Health: Utah Asian women are more likely to receive most preventative care and less likely to experience poor health outcomes compared to Utah women in general. 
  • Reproductive Health and Wellbeing: The birth rate per 1,000 Asian women in Utah is 10.5, aligned with the rate of 10.6 for all Utah women. 
  • Mental Health: According to the data, Utah Asian women fare better in mental health outcomes than Utah women generally. 

Education 

In most states and in the US in general, women earn the majority of college degrees. According to the 5-Year US Census Microdata, Asian women in Utah end their education with a high school diploma (19.8%) less than Utah women generally (23.8%) and have much higher rates of attaining a bachelor’s degree (44.3% vs. 29.0% of all Utah women). 

Income and Employment 

This section provides information regarding income, occupation, and business ownership among Asian women in Utah. 

  • Income: The median personal income for Utah Asian women ($21,856) is similar to the median income for Utah women generally ($19,245), which contrasts national trends, with US women having a higher median income ($23,106) than US Asian women ($20,842). 
  • Occupation: Utah Asian women are represented at different rates across occupational settings as compared to Utah women generally.  
  • Industry: Utah Asian women are also employed in industry at different rates than Utah women generally, with significantly higher participation in manufacturing and lower participation in health and education.  
  • Business Ownership: The Women’s Business Center of Utah report that, of their majority of women clients (95%), 3.0% are Asian.  

Conclusion 

The data in this report provide a snapshot of the existing disparities in several areas specifically related to Utah Asian women. Thus, the report provides a starting point for meaningful, targeted change. Although we were able to find existing data regarding the general demographics, health, wellbeing, education, and income and employment of Utah Asian women, usable information was not available in many categories we hoped to collect, such as housing, transportation, domestic violence, unpaid labor, caregiver status, childcare accessibility, civic engagement, and food insecurity. Additionally, data are not available for the diverse Asian subgroups, where experiences and data may vary greatly depending on ethnicity or regional origin. This demonstrates both a data gap and an opportunity for Utah universities, government, nonprofit, and other entities to do more to collaborate, gather, and report quality data that can help government, education, business, and nonprofit leaders and decision markers understand more deeply the circumstances and needs of Utah’s Asian women. More generally, gender, race, and ethnicity, along with other important demographic data, can help Utahns create a more inclusive, accessible, and equitable culture for all.  

Overall, Utahns can increase equity and equality within the state by utilizing data to recognize the impact of gender and race in our everyday lives. As we seek to provide greater access and opportunity to all residents, the state can use these data to better utilize the talents, ideas, and resources that Asian women have to offer the state, employers, and Utah families. Using data to create policies that support all Utah residents, including Asian women, can strengthen Utah’s workplaces, educational institutions, communities, and the state as a whole. 

To learn more about the status of Utah Asian women, read the full snapshot.

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The May 2022 Newsletter for the Utah Women & Leadership Project highlights new resources released, editorials, and announcements about women's groups and partnerships.

The Status of Utah Asian Women

The data in this report provide a snapshot of the existing disparities in several areas specifically related to Utah Asian women. Thus, the report provides a starting point for meaningful, targeted change.

The Status of Utah Pacific Islander Women

The data in this report provide a snapshot of the existing disparities in several areas specifically related to Utah Pacific Islander women. It also provides a starting point for meaningful, targeted change.