Decoding Hate

Decoding Hate is an interactive data visualization on the lived experience of anti-Asian hate, based on a dataset of hate incidents found on tweets and news reports from January 2020 to April 2021.

Visit our interactive data visualization, Decoding Hate.

The Virus of Hate

While the COVID-19 virus has affected all Americans, the virus of hate in the U.S. has been predominantly directed towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). News headlines only capture a subset of incidents, with thousands more going unreported. Since January 2020, news media have reported more than 800 hate incidents, while Twitter users have reported more than 4,400 additional hate incidents targeting AAPIs.

Hate Incident Volume by Month since JAN 2020
Reports of anti-Asian hate peaked in March 2020, as the number of COVID-19 cases increased, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, and stay-at-home orders took effect. Reported incidents spiked again in March 2021, coinciding with the one-year anniversary.

Lived Experience of Anti-Asian Hate

Our interactive data visualization —Decoding Hate—paints a larger story around the lived experience of anti-Asian hate to gain insight into the nature and volume of hate targeting the community. Thousands of tweets and hundreds of news stories, each represented by a fragment, come together to show a collective portrait of incidents from January 2020 to April 2021. It is important to note that Twitter is only one piece of the puzzle and that data needs to be combined with individual reporting and other methods to get a clearer picture of the full experience.

Hate Incident Type by Month since JAN 2020
Based on our data set, harassment was the most commonly reported type of hate incident (71%), followed by assault (15.5%), shunning (8%), and property damage (5.5%).                                           *Twitter and news combined  **A single incident may be classified as multiple types and, therefore, double counted in the chart above

From January 2020 to April 2021, our data set of combined news incidents and Twitter reports revealed: 

  • Types of incidents include harassment, shunning, assault, and property-related.
  •  In 93% of incidents that occurred in public areas, there’s no report of bystanders intervening on behalf of the victim.
  • Based on gender data (where available), women report being victims of hate incidents at nearly 2x the rate of men. 
  • Based on tweet and media data, 31% of anti-AAPI hate incidents were related to COVID-19 from January 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021.
  • In 28% of incidents, perpetrators targeted victims whom they perceived to be "Chinese."

Need for Documentation and Collaboration  

TAAF and our partners know there is an urgent need for more robust documentation and collaboration between organizations. This is why we are supporting the formation of the Anti-Hate Data Group. To obtain the latest news data, contact us at

This data set and corresponding charts are not intended as a definitive report on the total number or nature of hate incidents facing AAPI communities, and does not include incidents reported directly to organizations like Stop AAPI Hate or Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Additionally, incidents reported on Twitter frequently lack key information such as location or date.