UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Coethnic Concentration and Asians’ Perceived Discrimination across U.S. Counties during COVID-19 Lee, Rennie; Qian, Yue; Wu, Cary


Aggregate figures unequivocally depict an increase in anti-Asian sentiment in the United States and other Western countries since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is limited understanding of the contexts under which Asians encounter discrimination. The authors examine how coethnic concentration shapes Asians’ experiences of discrimination across U.S. counties during COVID-19 and also assess whether county-level context (e.g., COVID-19 infection rates, unemployment rates) could help explain this relationship. The authors analyze the Understanding Coronavirus in America tracking survey, a nationally representative panel of American households, along with countylevel contextual data. The authors find an n-shaped relationship between coethnic concentration and Asians’ perceived discrimination. This relationship is explained largely by county-level COVID-19 infection rates. Together, the context of medium Asian concentration and high COVID-19 cases created a particularly hostile environment for Asians during COVID-19.

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Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International