How U.S. Lawmakers Have Discussed Asian Americans on Social Media


Majority of posts about Asian Americans in 2020 and early 2021 mentioned concerns about violence, discrimination or racism

Asian Americans are defined by their diversity. With roots in more than 20 different countries, the Asian American population as a group nearly doubled between 2000 and 2019. Demographic shifts have led to increased prominence for Asian Americans in the voting booth and the halls of Congress. At the same time, 32% of Asian adults say they have feared that someone might threaten or physically attack them due to their race in the wake of violent incidents against Asian Americans during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

In the midst of these political and cultural developments, a Pew Research Center analysis of more than five years of congressional social media activity finds that lawmakers are increasingly mentioning Asian Americans on Facebook and Twitter.

From 2016 through 2019, lawmaker mentions of Asian Americans on social media – either of the population at large or of smaller subgroups – followed a relatively predictable pattern. Members of Congress collectively mentioned this group fewer than 2,000 times in each of these years, with monthly mentions consistently reaching their peak as lawmakers commemorated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May.1