No, the Philippine Islands Aren't Part of the Pacific Islands
The PI in the term AAPI stands for Pacific Islanders, and since this group is so small compared to the rest of the US population (they make up about 0.4% of that) there isn't much representation or thorough understanding of who this group is is consists of.
According to the US Census Bureau, native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders refer to the indigenous peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific islands and include individuals who identify as Fijians, Marshallese, Samoans, and Tongans.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of Pacific Island countries. We recommend that you use this as a base for exploring these beautiful and diverse nations. To best understand Pacific Islander culture and celebrate Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we encourage you to read books by Pacific Islanders and Asian authors.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Which regions and countries make up the Pacific Islands?
The Pacific Islands consist of three sub-regions: Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia:
Melanesia means "black islands" in Greek and consists of around 2,000 islands in the South Pacific, which stretch from New Guinea to New Caledonia and include the Arafura Sea.
Micronesia covers the area between Hawaii and the Philippines and consists of about 2,000 islands.
Polynesia comprises about 1,000 islands that stretch from Hawaii through Easter Island to New Zealand.
All are part of the larger geographic region of Oceania, which is made up of thousands of islands in the central and south Pacific, including Australia. Since the Pacific Islands are made up of thousands of islands and territories, the number of countries in this group is a common issue. However, according to a report from the World Health Organization, there are 15 countries in the Pacific Islands:
Northern Marianne Islands
Wallis and Futuna
Are the Philippines or Japan a Pacific Island country?
Since the Pacific contains many islands, there tends to be some debate about whether or not certain countries and people belong to the Pacific islands. Ultimately, it's up to a person how they identify, but according to Britannica, the Pacific Islands exclude nearby islands like Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan. By geographic definition, Australia is part of Oceania, while Indonesia and the Philippines are part of Southeast Asia, and Japan is considered an East Asian nation.
Photo credit: Getty Images
More about the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
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