The AACP Newsletter
Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. - Books for All Ages
Since 1970 August 2006
Editor's Notes
Event Schedule
Featured Books
Featured Articles/Editorials
The American Community Survey
The Latest Asian Pacific Islander American Population Numbers

Goodbye Luther Burbank Middle/Junior High School

Newsletter Home Page
Printable Newsletter
The American Community Survey and
The Latest Asian Pacific Islander American Population Numbers

By Leonard D. Chan

A few weeks ago, reports on the composition of the populace of the United States were disseminated widely throughout news media outlets. Their source for the data, the American Community Survey, was a noteworthy part of the story along with the actual numbers being reported.

For many people, this was their first introduction to the American Community Survey (ASC). Even though early trial forms of the ACS have been around since 1996, this is the first year that the ACS has been fully operational and has publicized a completed year's report. In the words of the United States Census Bureau, the department that operates the ACS, the ACS is

"a new nationwide survey designed to provide communities a fresh look at how they are changing. It is an ongoing survey which will allow the Census Bureau to provide the nation with demographic data on a yearly basis instead of every 10 years. The ACS is a critical element in the reengineered 2010 Decennial Program and will replace the census "long form" beginning in 2010. The Census Bureau will continue to use the census "short form" in the decennial census of population and housing to obtain the population count and other demographic information."

The statistic that this new program produces should be of great importance to all of us because these numbers are used to help influence many decisions made in government and the private sector. For example, the statistics reported might affect decisions that are made on school funding as well as decisions that your company may makes in their everyday planning. You can read about the ACS and the importance of the data they produce in a seminar given by the Brookings Institution.

The Census Bureau conducts many censuses and surveys. One of the other Census Bureau programs is the Population Estimates Program (PEP). This program has had year to year population demographics since at least the 1970s. PEP uses the decennial census (the census taken every tenth year since 1790) as a starting point for its figures and then derives numbers by adding and subtracting people based on births, deaths, and immigration records.

ACS derives it figures by conducting surveys in sample populations around the country. The sample size and selection is careful planned according to complex statistical methods. The ACS collects a wide variety of information that is similar to the data compiled with the long form surveys used in the decennial censuses. This can include general population data as well as data on income, occupation, housing type and cost, educational enrollment and attainment, and even commuter information. PEP only estimates population numbers organized by age, sex, and race/ethnicity.

Asian Pacific Islander Population Findings
Both the ACS and PEP show that the Asian Pacific Islander (API) American population continues to grow at a faster rate than the general population. Thus the API percentage of the total US population is getting more sizable each passing year. According to our calculations for the nation, the 2005 percentage of people that state they are all or part API is at 4.95% using the ACS numbers and 5.02% using PEP. PEP's figure for API and part API in 2000 is at 4.46%. The furthest back

figure that we could calculate from the ACS is 2002. That year's ACS API and part API figure is 4.68%.

A word about our reported API statistics - ACS and PEP do not combine Asian American and Pacific Islander data. People that list themselves as being part Asian American or part Pacific Islander may be members of both partial groups. In the calculations that we used to derive the above figures, we only counted the people that listed themselves as all or part Asian American and added that figure to the number of people that stated that they were all Pacific Islanders. Thus the all and part API figures listed above should actually be slightly higher. We will include links to all our statistical worksheets and the data that we collected from the Census Bureau website at the end of this article.

Continuing with the report, California's 2005 API and part API population is 13.8% according to the ACS and 13.89% according to PEP. The ACS 2002 figure is 13.35% and the PEP 2000 figure is 12.9%.

For my home city of San Francisco, we were only able to derive API data from the ACS. The API and part API population in San Francisco for 2005 is 35.01% and 34.83% in 2002.

An interesting figure that you will see in the worksheets is a calculation for children in the 5-17 year age range. These numbers vary slightly up and down over the past five years, but as a percentage of total population, these figures are showing a slight downward trend because the overall United States and California populations are increasing. Overall, school age children's population is significantly higher than the highest figure during the baby boom era.

ACS numbers appear to be smaller than PEP's in most categories that we looked at. For example, the ACS 2005 total US population is 8,032,267 less than PEP's estimate. ACS's 2005 report also shows 616,349 fewer API and part API residents than PEP.

The most glaring difference between ACS and PEP for the API community is the Pacific Islander figure. For 2005 ACS reports only 397,030 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders in the US, whereas PEP estimates their numbers at 516,612. Which figure is more accurate holds great importance to the Pacific Islander American community. Based on the ACS's general under reporting relative to the 2000 census and the PEP figures, it is our guess that the PEP figures are closer to the real Pacific Islander population size. Because of the serious consequences this number may have, we encourage you all to investigate the reasons for this discrepancy.

Accuracy of surveys like the ACS is only as good as the sample quality. If the sample is truly representative of the whole, then you will get a good view of the big picture. Nothing is as accurate as a complete count, but even the decennial census, which attempts to count everybody, misses a lot of people.

The ACS and PEP numbers reported in past years get revised each year, so what we tell you may not hold true as they collect more data and make revisions to their methodology. As the ACS sampling methods get better, it could potentially have superior accuracy to even the decennial census.

AACP's API Demographic Worksheets
Summary worksheet derived from ACS data - 26K Excel File
Summary worksheet derived from PEP data - 24K Excel File

Data Extracted from the Census Bureau's ACS Website
ACS data from 2000-2001 - 92K Excel File
ACS data from 2002-2003 - 121K Excel File
ACS data from 2004-2005 - 119K Excel File

Data Extracted from the Census Bureau's PEP Website
PEP data for the US 2000-2005 - 82K Excel File
PEP data for CA 2000-2005 - 43K Excel File

Census Bureau's Websites
Main Census Bureau Website
American Community Survey Website (ACS)
Population Estimates Program Website (PEP)
Information and Teachers Aids for Educators
American Fact Finder
APA Heritage Month API Facts Sheet
1998 Technical Working Paper Explaining the ACS and PEP

Up Coming Events

Here are some events that AACP will soon be attending.
Invite us to your events.
Sept. 9
Midori Kai Arts & Craft Boutique MV Buddhist Temple
Mountain View, CA
Sept. 21-23
California Council For History Education Hyatt SF Airport
Burlingame, CA
Sept. 23
8th Annual
Early Childhood Best Practices Conference
Pathway to Quality Early Education
Santa Clara Office of Education
San Jose, CA
Sept. 30
Oct. 1
8th Annual Silicon Valley Moon Festival Memorial Park
Cupertino, CA
Oct. 7
1 pm
Book Reading and Signing for
Author and Biographer Anne Akabori - Visa's For Life & The Gift
San Mateo, CA
Oct. 21
1 pm
Book Reading and Signing for
Author John Hamamura - Color of the Sea
San Mateo, CA
Other Event of Interest that AACP May Not Attend
Sept. 14
Confronting Asian American Stereotypes 500 Wash. St, 5th Fl
San Francisco, CA
Sept. 23-24 SF International Dragon Boat Festival Treasure Island
San Francisco, CA
Sept. 25
Discovering Angel Island
Film Screen and Lecture
Foster City Lib.
1000 E. Hillsdale Blvd.
Foster City, CA
Sept. 30
Chinatown Rising
2006 Gala Dinner and Dance
Chinese Historical Soc. of America
SF Marriott Hotel
55 4th St.
Oct. 28
San Mateo OCA's
Asian American Achievement Awards
S. SF Conv. Center

Editor's Message

Hello Everyone,

Is it still August? I hope so :). This is the August edition of the AACP newsletter.

Moving along, I have two events I'd like to draw your attention to. On October 7, author and biographer Anne Akabori will be at our store. Anne's major works all deal with the Chiune Sugihara family. Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat that helped to save over 6,000 Jews during World War II. He did by issuing travel visas to Jews escaping Poland. Come and meet Anne Akabori and learn more about the Sugihara family.

Our second event will take place on October 21, when author John Hamamura will read and sign his new novel "Color of the Sea."

Keep checking our website for more details on these events. I also hope to have more information in the next newsletter.

Thanks Jean, for your help with analyzing the tons of information on the Census Bureau website.

That's all for now.


Leonard Chan
Executive Editor

Give Us Your Feedback

Please feel free to send us your reviews, comments, and book suggestions. You can contact us at -

Goodbye Luther Burbank Middle/Junior High School
By Leonard D. Chan

For the first time in over 40 years, the new school term will begin without the reopening of a San Francisco Luther Burbank School. With the constant changes in life - people coming and going, stores opening and permanently closing, new libraries replacing old - the one constant we assumed would out live us was our schools. Luther Burbank was my junior high school.

The demographic report article in this newsletter actually started off as a search for the answer to why Luther Burbank Middle School was being closed. The school board gave low enrollment as one of the main factors for the school's closure.

How could this be? In my past research on California demographics, I had found that the number of children in California actually far exceeded the baby boom school enrollment figures of the sixties and seventies.

In contrast to the rest of the state, which has even seen shortages of schools in some areas, San Francisco public school enrollment has gone way down over the last few years. Former San Francisco school superintendent Arlene Ackerman stated in 2004 that the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) had gone from highs of around 93,000 in the 1960s to the 2004 rough figure of 57,000 students.

San Francisco is one of the few major cities in California that has not progressively increased in population and to make matters worse for the SFUSD, San Francisco's composition has been getting older.

Luther Burbank was originally designed for a maximum student capacity of 1500. By 2004 the enrollment had dropped to around 400. No wonder it was being tagged for closure.

Strange enough, the building itself will still be used as a school, but under a different name and entity. SFUSD has been going through a metamorphosis with the creation of many small specialty schools taking the place of larger, supposedly impersonal, general-purpose schools. Starting this school term Aim High Academy will move into the Luther Burbank building and share the building with another small specialty school called June Jordan High School.

This past June, my sisters and I went back to visit Burbank. Much had changed since we

last stepped foot in the school. It no longer was the new and shiny school we remember it as. Back when we were there, they even had a laser for science classes.

I'll always remember the laser demonstration that didn't work during an open house night. It was my siblings' school at that time and I was a younger little kid waiting to see something that was only being seen in science fiction TV shows and movies. Who would have ever thought that people would one day have laser on their key chains :)?

I'll remember the day it snowed in San Francisco and there was enough on the ground to make snowballs for tossing at classmates. Burbank is situated at a slightly higher altitude next to a park with lots of evergreen trees. When the snow covered the ground, one could possibly mistake the area around Burbank for some place in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

I'll remember the times we had to run cross country through that park. Ugh, I thought I would die running down those gravelly dirt trails.

I'll remember the times we went on nature excursions through the park for science class. We would collect pinecones and needles to help us identify the trees and then save the cones for art classes to make Christmas decorations.

I'll remember the great music department and auditorium. The auditorium was far superior to my nieces' private school gymnasium/auditorium.

And what about the music department? Here's where the connection with Asian Americans comes in. Some years after I had graduated from the school, Burbank created the only marching band in the SFUSD. They didn't have fancy uniforms, but would instead perform in the school's traditional green sweaters. Each year I would catch a glimpse of them performing in the Chinese New Year Parade. This was a source of pride for my siblings and me - after all, Lowell High School, the academic pride of San Francisco, didn't even have a marching band performing in the parade :).

I'll remember all the great classes and wonderful teachers I had too. The detailed memories of them may fade, but I'll always think fondly of my time at Luther Burbank Junior High School.



The following books are discounted for subscribers to our newsletter. The discounts on these books end September 15, 2006.

Chinese American Voices
From the Gold Rush to the Present

Compiled and edited by Judy Young, Gordon H. Chang, and Him Mark Lai
2006, 462 pages, Paperback.

Unlike other historical works which tells history in the voice of the historian that wrote the piece, Chinese American Voices uses the words of Chinese Americans, that actually lived in the past to present periods, to narrate the experiences of Chinese in America. This is a fascinating anthology of over sixty original pieces that can be read at a leisurely pace in no particular order.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3415, Price $24.95

The Art of Gaman
Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946

By Delphine Hirasuna
2005, 128 pages, Hardback.

During World War II, some Japanese Americans incarcerated in internment camps used their creativity and resourcefulness to create wonderful artwork and crafts. The Art of Gaman is your quintessential fascinating art book which features these pieces, but what makes the contents of this book truly unique are the harsh circumstances under which the works were created.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3386, Price $35.00

Hannah Is My Name

By Belle Yang
2004, 24 pages, Hardback.

A Taiwanese girl named Hannah and her family immigrate to the United States. Many immigrants will be able to relate to Hannah's family's difficulties with survival and gaining permanent residency status. This is an inspiring story, based on author Belle Yang's real life transitional experience in 1960's San Francisco.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3416, Price $16.99

San Francisco's Chinatown

By Judy Yung and the
Chinese Historical Society of America
2006, 127 pages, Paperback.

This is another one of Arcadia Publishing's marvelous books that shows the history of a community in pictures, and insightful captions and notes. Historian Judy Yung and the Chinese Historical Society of America have managed to distill over 150 years of San Francisco Chinatown history into a little over 100 pages. As condensed as it is, these pictures and notes tell volumes. You'll see cobblestone streets, foods drying on the streets and roof tops, the fashions, signs on the windows and walls, lots of Chinatown residents and visitors, and much more, and you'll learn how Chinatown has changed and stayed the same over the many years of its existence.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3417, Price $19.99

What About Me?

By Ed Young
2002, 29 pages, Hardback.

A young boy goes to a Grand Master in search of some knowledge. The Master sends him on a quest that ultimately results in the boy's attainment of some knowledge. Like the moral teaching Aesop Fables, "What About Me?," based on a Middle Eastern Sufi tale, will enlighten all.

View Additional Information
ORDER -- Item #3418, Price $16.99

Copyright © 2006 by
Asian American Curriculum Project, Inc. (a non-profit organization since 1970)
Visit our website at
To unsubscribe simply reply to this email and type "REMOVE" in the subject line.