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Asia Matters for America
By Aaron Siirila, Satu Limaye

 

 

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ASIA'S INCREASING importance to the United States is the stuff of conventional wisdom. Newspapers are full of stories of the ascent of China and India among other regional countries and how their rise is affecting the US. What is less well-known is how Asia matters for America at the level of each US state and congressional district across a range of economic and social variables ranging from exports, employment based on exports, revenue generated by Asian students, temporary visas granted to work in America, tourism and ethnicity/immigration that impact American lives and society.

 

Asia's impact is increasingly being seen and felt across America — not just restricted to big or coastal states that have traditional links with region. Who knew, for example, that Idaho, New Mexico, Maine and Vermont rank among the top ten US states in terms of their share of exports going to Asia in 2007? Or that 76 percent of Nevada's international students came from Asia in 2005-2006, the highest proportion in the country? Or that the fastest growing states in terms of the population of those who identify themselves as "Asian alone" in the national census include Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Nevada. Did you know that Louisana's 5th District had nearly $3 billion in exports to Asia in 2007 — 36 percent of the district's total and the highest among any congressional district in the southeastern US?

 

Making such information accessible in a systematic, credible and interactive way is the basis for a new initiative of the East-West Center in Washington entitled Asia Matters for America (AMA) which comprises both a website, www.asiamattersforamerica.org, and printed materials in the form of map-brochures and summaries for all 50 states and each of 435 congressional districts on how the region matters to America.

 

Asia Matters for America reveals surprising findings through the use of maps, charts, graphs, and raw data, allowing comparison across countries, states and districts. This graphical, interactive website displays quantitative data in innovative and understandable ways, allowing both subject experts and laypersons to understand how Asia matters at the US state and local level.

 

AMA uses publicly available data from US government sources for data on employment, exports, Asian alone ethnicity and foreign-born data, and data from the Institute of International Education (IIE) for student data. Some data were analyzed by third parties to develop Congressional District estimates.

 

As debates heat up in this US election and beyond about America's economic future and globalization and the implications of a rising Asia for the US, the linking of macro-themes with local situations will be a more visible feature and AMA provides a ready reference for these debates.

 

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Satu Limaye is director and Aaron Siirila is program associate at the East-West Center in Washington, DC. The East-West Center is an education and research organization established by the US Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. Funding comes from the US government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and the governments of the region.
Additional data from the Asia Matters for America project can be found at www.asiamattersforamerica.org.

 

 

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    Asia’s impact is increasingly being seen and felt across America — not just restricted to big or coastal states that have traditional links with region. Who knew, for example, that Idaho, New Mexico, Maine and Vermont rank among the top ten US states in terms of their share of exports going to Asia in 2007?
    Published: September 2008 (Vol.3 No.3)
    About the author

    Aaron Siirila is program associate at the East-West Center in Washington, D.C.

    Satu Limaye is Vice President of the East-West Center and Director of the East-West Center in Washington, where he directs the Asia Matters for America initiative. He is also a regional editor for Global Asia.

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