May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month

May 9, 2024

According to the Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month website, May was chosen for AAPI commemoration in recognition of the first Japanese immigrant to the United States on May 7, 1843, and of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

But Asian/Pacific heritage encompasses much more than Japan and China — it includes all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

For information about AAPI representation across the United States, start with the resources in our guide to U.S. Census and Demographic Information. Among them is a tool called Social Explorer (it's a subscription, so U-M affiliates only), where you'll find demographic information about the United States from 1790 to present along with tools to create maps and tables. 

The Census Bureau portal,, is another good resource and is available to everyone.

For help with census or other demographic information contact Catherine Morse, librarian for government information, law, and political science.

Campus programming for AAPI Heritage Month is past (timed to occur before the end of the semester) but the Ann Arbor District Library has events ranging from film screenings to cooking demonstrations. 

Detroit PBS is shining a light on AAPI experiences and filmmakers. 

And you'll find much more relevant material — including ebooks and streaming video — in our collection. If you need help finding what you're looking for, Ask a Librarian, or search for a library specialist.

Selection from a map created with the Social Explorer tool.


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