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Asian/Pacific Islanders

Minnesota is home to about 144,300 Asian/Pacific Islanders. These includes ethnicities such as Asian Indians, Bhutanese, Cambodians, Hmong, Karen and Vietnamese. Many Asian/Pacific Islanders has or had family members born outside of the U.S. that has immigrated to Minnesota.


Some Asian/Pacific Islanders can fluently speak English, but English may not be their first language. Asian/Pacific islanders may have the ability to speak one or more different languages.

Most Commonly Spoken Language(s) (besides english):

Asian IndiansHindi
CambodiansKhmer, Chinese
FilipinoFilipino, Tagalog
HmongHmong, Lao
ChineseChinese, Manderin
LaotianLao, Laotian
KarenS’gaw Karen, Eastern Pwo Karen, and Western Pwo Karen

Medical Care:

Many ethnicities of Asian/Pacific Islanders don’t have access to health insurance. 

  • 17% of Cambodians don’t have healthcare
  • 13% of Hmong don’t have healthcare
  • 12% of Vietnamese don’t have healthcare
  • About 7.5% of Chinese don’t have healthcare
  • About 7% of Laotians dont have healthcare
  • About 7% of Korean don’t have healthcare
  • About 6% of Filipinos don’t have healthcare
  • About 3% or less of Asian Indians don’t have healthcare
  • About 10% of other Asians don’t have healthcare

The insurance gap may cause Asian/Pacific Islanders to face an increase of ongoing medical complications. Some possible medical complications could be; obesity, diabetes, malnutrition, cancer, diseases, and more.

Medical Barriers:

Many Asian/Pacific Islanders, especially elders, believe that they don’t need to seek medical attention unless it is a crucial matter. This causes untreated illnesses that may worsen as time goes on. 

Some Asian/Pacific Islanders don’t believe in the use of medicine and may try to use more natural solutions. Possible solutions may be herbal medicine, massages, rituals, or other methods within their cultural beliefs.

Social Hierarchy:

There are plenty of Asian/Pacific Islander homes that are multigenerational, meaning that two or more generations are living in one home. Elders are usually respected and important in the households. The younger generations are usually expected to do well in their studies and to respect the elders. 


Diets vary from each different Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicity. There are many cultural beliefs that may affect what can and cannot be consumed. 

Some Asian Indians can’t consume beef due to cultural beliefs, while some eat all types of meat. Some may even be vegetarians.

Since immigrating into the U.S. many of the Asian/Pacific Islanders have adapted to the American fast-food lifestyle. The consumption of fast-food could lead to obesity, diabetes, and other medical problems. Many of the traditional home-cooked meals consist of fresh produce and grains. 

Popular Traditional Dishes:

Ethnicity:Popular Dishes:
Asian IndiansPapdi Chaat, Murgh Makhani, and Chole
BhutaneseJasha Maroo, Momos, and Phaksha Paa
CambodiansPleah Sach Ko, Green Papaya Salad, and Samlar Kari
FilipinoAdobo, Lechon, and Kaldereta
HmongHmong Sweet Pork, Red Curry Chicken Noodle Soup, and Fawm Kauv
VietnamesePho, Bun Cha, and Banh mi
ChineseHot Pot, Dumplings, and Chow Mein
JapaneseTempura, Noodles (Soba, Udon, and Ramen), and Sushi
KoreanClassic Korean Bibimbap, Bulgogi, and Kimchi Jjigae
LaotianKaipen, Khao Jee, and Khao Poon
ThaiPad Thai, Khao Pad, and Tom Yum Goong
KarenFish Paste, Rice, Fish and Meats

Life Expectancy:

Life expectancy varies within different Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicities. It can revolve around the DNA of each individual or where they reside within MN. In recent years, the life expectancy rates have increased for the majority of the different Asian/Pacific Islander groups.

Life Expectancy Rates:

Ethnicity:Life Expectancy:
Asian Indians78.9  years
Bhutanese72.2 years
Cambodians69.8 years
Filipino74.5 years
Hmong76.7 years
Vietnamese75.6 years
Chinese69.9 years
Japanese84.4 years
Korean81.8 years
Laotian65.8 years
Thai73.7 years
Karen73.4 years


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