Skip to main content

Professor to chair Asian population census committee

October 18, 2010

Wei Li has been elected chair of the Race and Ethnic Advisory Committee (REAC) on the Asian Population for the U.S. Census Bureau during the fall 2010 REAC meetings at the Bureau headquarters in Maryland. Li has served on this advisory committee since 2003, appointed and twice reappointed by three consecutive U.S. Secretaries of Commerce, and has held the position of committee vice chair since 2004.

The Census Bureau began seeking guidance from the Race and Ethnic Advisory Committees (REAC) beginning in the mid-1970s, forming five race and ethnic committees to advise the Bureau on decennial issues: the African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Advisory Committees. These committees provide a continuing channel of communication between the Bureau and race and ethnic communities, focusing on: strategies to reduce the undercount; data collection and enumeration strategies; geographic and data products for American Indian and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders; tabulation of race and ethnic data; data dissemination; outreach and promotion.

During her tenure on REAC, Li has participated in and advised the Bureau on research and implementation toward the 2010 Census and the American Community Survey, especially pertaining to the Asian population, including observing focus group discussions, census non-response follow-up field operations, as well as the Phoenix Data Center - one of three facilities nationwide handling the 2010 census forms. She has also served as spokesperson or co-spokesperson for various REAC working groups and served on the Joint Advisory Advertising Review Panel in 2008-2009.

Li is the only geographer in the nation to have served on REAC. An associate professor at Arizona State University, she holds joint appointments in Asian Pacific American Studies in the School of Social Transformation and in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“The dedication and expertise that Wei has brought to the Census Bureau in reaching and counting difficult-to-enumerate populations within Asian communities is a great example of how ASU faculty are bringing scholarship into action in the world,” says Kathy Nakagawa, faculty head of Asian Pacific American Studies. “The broader public and the Bureau will continue to benefit as she assumes the role of chair of the Race and Ethnic Advisory Committee on the Asian Population.”

Maureen Roen,