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Notes on Methodology and Sources of Data

Maps throughout the Asia Matters for America website and publications are not necessarily drawn to scale and should not be regarded as accurate depictions of geographical features. Place names and territorial boundaries conform to US Department of State standards.

US Census population data reflects people who self-reported their ethnicity on the census form as “Asian alone or in combination with other races.” Data on ethnicity and population is from the US Census Bureau via their American Fact Finder search tool and the 2010 Census Brief on the Asian population. The graphs of “Top 10 States with the Largest Asian Population” and “Top 10 States with the Fastest Growing Asian Population” use data from the US Census Bureau.

Tourism data is from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI).

International student data is from the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors Report. Data was collected from the 2000/01 academic year up to the most recent year that data was available. For American students abroad, this was the 2009/10 academic year and for foreign students coming to the US this was the 2010/11 academic year.

Sister cities are based on Sister Cities International’s 2011 Membership Directory and individual sister city sources. Not all sister cities are members of the Sister Cities International membership organization.

For trade data, all national and regional goods and services import and export data except for ASEAN is from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis website's International Trade in Goods and Services Data. For ASEAN, national goods import and export data for each member state is from the US Census Bureau’s International Trade Data. These values were then summed to produce annual goods import/export values for ASEAN. No services data were available. All state export data is from the US Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s Trade Stats Express website. All congressional district level data is estimated from a custom analysis by the The Trade Partnership from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Moody’s Analytics data.

All Direct Investment Abroad and Foreign Direct Investment in the US data are from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the case of ASEAN, data was summed from the ten member nations to produce overall investment data.

Included Countries/Economies

The United States has never had a single definition for what constitutes Asia. America’s changing conceptions of the region have been influenced by European ideas, fashions in mapmaking, and racial stereotypes among other factors. America’s definitions of Asia for policy purposes -- mainly diplomacy and defense -- have been shaped not by grand strategy but usually bureaucratic necessity, turf battles, and ad hoc decisions of key officials. Today, there is no fixed or widely agreed definition of Asia across US society or government. Therefore, for the purposes of the Asia Matters for America initiative, a broad definition of Asia has been adopted to encompass 40 economies from the Pacific Ocean through the Indian Ocean. The reasoning for this “Big Asia” is simple: US policy and perceptual usage is increasingly returning to an earlier wide definition of an Asia --whether expressed as the “East Asian littoral running from the Sea of Japan to the Bay of Bengal” or the more recent “Indo-Pacific.” (Adapted from Satu Limaye, "Want a New Map of Asia? Include the United States," Asia Pacific Bulletin No. 105, 2011).

This projects defines Asia as:

  • Northeast Asia: China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong
  • Southeast Asia: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Timor-Leste
  • South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
  • Pacific: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu