Published: September 4, 2021

Tan, X., Lee, R., & Ruppanner, L. (2021). Profiling racial prejudice during COVID-19: Who exhibits anti-asian sentiment in Australia and the United States? Australian Journal of Social Issues.


Xiao Tan, Rennie Lee, and Leah Ruppanner


Following the COVID-19 outbreak, anti-Asian racism increased around the world, as exhibited through greater instances of abuse and hate crimes. To better understand the scale of anti-Asian racism and the characteristics of people who may be expressing racial prejudice, we sampled respondents in Australia and the United States over 31 August–9 September 2020 (1375 Australians and 1060 Americans aged 18 or above; source YouGov). To address potential social desirability bias, we use both direct and indirect (list experiment) questions to measure anti-Asian sentiment and link these variables to key socioeconomic factors. We find that, instead of being universal among general populations, anti-Asian sentiment is patterned differently across both country contexts and socioeconomic groups. In the United States, the most significant predictor of anti-Asian bias is political affiliation. By contrast, in Australia, anti-Asian bias is closely linked to a wide range of socioeconomic factors including political affiliation, age, gender, employment status and income.