The Asian American population, both nationally and locally, has seen rapid growth over the past few years. As the fastest growing minority group in the country, they account for about 5% of the national population, which translates to about 17.5 million individuals.
In Montgomery County, the Asian American population continues to grow. It is estimated that nearly 42% of the state of Maryland’s Asian American population lives in Montgomery County. Accounting for nearly 15% of the County population, the Asian American population is made up of over 20 different ethnic subgroups.
In addition to being ethnically diverse, the Asian American population is also diverse in age. The median age of Asian Americans in Montgomery County is 41. The Asian American senior population has also seen tremendous growth. In fact, Asian American older adults are the largest minority subgroup among Montgomery County’s 65+ age group.
Many Asian American communities in the United States have historically faced stigma stemming from the myth of the “model minority” which perceives Asian Americans as enjoying a much higher rate of socioeconomic success than other groups. Despite distinct patterns of migration into the United States, prevalent linguistic and cultural isolation, and varying levels of educational achievement and occupational success, the minority myth prevails. This can be especially unfair and even harmful for Asian American communities who struggle with visibility and attention for low-income or immigrant members who need support in accessing local health services.
The truth is, many Asian Americans—in Montgomery County and across the country—struggle to pay their monthly bills, live and work in unsafe environments, and cannot afford or do not know how to access adequate health care. By instituting this model minority myth, the needs of Asian Americans are often undermined and left unrecognized and unfulfilled.