A new analysis of Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth data finds Asian American-owned businesses in New York City were hit harder and earlier than other communities, likely due to xenophobia and a misguided fear of Asian establishments at the outset of the pandemic.
New York’s Asian-American community thrived before the pandemic. According to the 2017 Census Bureau, Asian Americans owned 23% of all companies in the area. However, spending in Chinatown decreased by roughly 85% between 2019 and 2020, while citywide consumer spending declined 65%, according to the Mastercard report.
Asian American Federation executive director Jo-Ann Yoo also pointed out the insufficiency of government aid programs for the fall in income for Asian-American small businesses.
The research attributed the small-business collapse to Asian Americans’ inability to get federal assistance. A Local Initiatives Support Corp report showed in April 2021 that 40% of minority-owned businesses didn’t obtain Paycheck Protection Program.
Many Asian businesses rely on cash-and-paper bookkeeping, and “restrictive requirements for establishing net profit prevented them from getting government aid during the pandemic.
The Asian American Federation research recommended that improved language access to government papers might increase Asian company owners’ aid applications.
Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth hopes that their analysis and insights can provide an evidence base for decision-makers to ensure a truly inclusive recovery as they prioritize constrained resources.