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A shocking number (43%) of Asian British Columbians have experienced racist actions towards them this past year; this includes indirect (26%) and direct (23%) racial slurs, social media slurs (16%), work/school discrimination (10%), property damage (6%) and assault (5%).

Vancouver, BC — Given the recent rise in anti-Asian racism that has been reported on in Canada and the USA, Insights West undertook the largest poll of Asian British Columbians of this kind and discovered that concerns and personal experiences with racism in the past year are extremely pervasive. Anti-Asian racism has increased dramatically since the pandemic began and has personally impacted a large number of Asian British Columbians.

A very large proportion of Asian British Columbians think racism is a serious problem in our province and is getting worse since the pandemic began. The vast majority (83%) believes that racism is a serious problem in BC (36% believe it is ‘very serious’, and 48% believe it is ‘somewhat serious’). Very few believe it is not a serious problem (15%). Individuals from all demographic segments and age groups all agree about how serious a problem it is, but females are feeling particularly vulnerable on this issue (41% feel it is a ‘very serious problem’ vs. only 29% of males).

A similarly large number (80%) feel that racism is a phenomenon that has increased since the beginning of the pandemic, including 48% who say it has gotten ‘a lot worse’. More specifically, an even larger percentage (87%) feel anti-Asian racism in particular has gotten worse (64% ‘a lot worse’).

It’s not just a generalized societal problem, as the vast majority of Asian British Columbians surveyed have been significantly impacted by this issue on a personal level. Over three-quarters (77%) indicate racism has had a negative impact on them personally, with 18% experiencing a ‘major negative impact’, 28% a ‘moderate negative impact,’ and 31% a ‘minor negative impact’.

Insights West asked Asian British Columbians specifically about a list of six forms of racism to see how many have experienced each of these particular situations in the past year as well as overall while living in BC and found a high number have had personal experiences with more than one item on the list. While 58% have overheard a racist comment directed at them at some point since living in BC, 26% have experienced this in the past year in particular. The same number (58%) have ever had a racial slur made directly to them in person (23% this past year), and 26% have experienced a racial comment on social media with more than half (16%) experiencing that event in the past year. Close to half (43%) have experienced workplace or school-based discrimination based on their ethnicity, but a smaller number have experienced this in the past year (10%).

Although the numbers are much smaller, a shocking number of Asian British Columbians (13%) have experienced property damage or graffiti or a physical assault (17%) in their lifetime here in BC because of their ethnic background, and a small number of people have experienced this in the past year (6% for property/graffiti, and 5% for physical assault).

An unacceptably high number (77%) have experienced at least one of the six forms of racism in their lifetime since living in BC, with 43% having had one or more experiences in this past year since the pandemic began. Sadly, negative experiences with racist events are more predominant among younger Asians as well as newer immigrants.

Unfortunately, this is not seen as a phenomenon that will lessen as COVID pandemic dissipates, as many believe racism will get worse before it gets better. Nearly half (45%) believe racism will get worse when we project out a year from now, and a similar number (37%) believe it will stay the same. Only 8% believe it will be better looking out into the future.

“The numbers coming out of our poll results we released today around anti-Asian racism here in British Columbia are quite shocking” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “The problem is seen to be extensive and getting worse among Asian British Columbians, and it is even more alarming to see the proportion of individuals who have directly experienced racist behaviours in this past year of the pandemic relative to the rest of their lifetime here in BC.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a full-service marketing research firm based in Western Canada. Since 2012, the company has conducted over one million surveys, executed 2,000 studies, and issued over 350 press releases on a variety of topics, correctly predicting the outcomes of 25 out of 26 elections and plebiscites. Insights West is a team of passionate, truth-seeking researchers who question everything to uncover the truth and what is emerging for a diverse set of clients. With an understanding of shifting markets, consumer and societal trends, and commitment to uncovering truths through a proprietary toolkit and innovative research approaches, Insights West helps organizations make better decisions. 

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted March 24 to April 6, 2021 among a sample of 725 Asian residents in British Columbia. Respondents are part of Insights West’s Feedback Community, a panel of BC residents recruited from a variety of sources and backgrounds who share their views and opinions on an ongoing basis, from other panels provided by partner providers, and outreach on social media. The margin of error with the total sample—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies between totals are due to rounding. Click HERE to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mossop
Insights West