Sources and Methodology

Notes on Methodology and Sources of Data

For the purposes of this project, Asia or the Indo-Pacific region is defined as the following countries:

Northeast Asia: China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong

Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Timor-Leste

South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Oceania: Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Data and Visualizations


Maps throughout the Asia Matters for America/America Matters for Asia website and publications are not necessarily drawn to scale and should not be regarded as accurate depictions of geographical features. Place names and territorial boundaries conform to US Department of State standards, with the exception of the map of India shown on the India Matters to America/America Matters to India publication which conforms to Indian Ministry of External Affairs boundaries due to Indian law.


Data on defense equipment sales in Asia comes from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's (SIPRI) Arms Transfer Database, specifically the trend-indicator value (TIV) tables.

Data on foreign aid to Asian countries comes from the US Department of State's Explorer and reflects only spent amounts, not obligations. Data reflects the US fiscal year (October - September) not the calendar year and is compiled from a number of US government agency sources, details of which can be found here.


US goods and services export data is estimated by the Trade Partnership (Washington, DC). This data collected from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the International Trade Administration (ITA), US Department of Agriculture, and Moody’s Analytics data and tracked to the point of origin by the Trade Partnership. Unless otherwise noted, data is aggregated by NAICS level 3 categories for goods, and BEA33 categories for services.

Supplemental information comes from the US Commerce Department's BEA, and ITA. Services data is not available for some countries in the Asia Matters for America/America Matters for Asia and ASEAN Matters for America/America Matters for ASEAN publications. Services data is limited to Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Data in Japan Matters for America/America Matters for Japan on Japanese goods exports by prefecture are obtained from the Japanese Ministry of Finance via the prefectural Customs Offices. Data is collected in Japanese Yen and converted into US Dollars using US Internal Revenue Service's average exchange rate. This data may not reflect the figures used at the national level by the Ministry of Finance or other sources.


US Direct Investment Abroad and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the US data is obtained from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Unless otherwise noted, this data is measured on a historical-cost basis and reflect the stock of FDI (cumulative investment), not the annual flow of investment.

Foreign companies operating in the US and American companies operating in Asia is based on data from Uniworld Business Publications database. This data is collected by Uniworld via each company and is based on the physical location of each subsidiary.

Data on greenfield investment comes from the fDi Markets database, which tracks open source announcements of investment since 2003. The fDi Markets database is updated monthly, though data on our site reflects annualized data only. Greenfield investment refers to the building or expansion of new facilities, as opposed to mergers, acquisitions, or other capital investment flows. These figures are estimates.

Corporate investment data for the India Matters to America/America Matters to India publication is based on a survey by the Confederation of Indian Industries and Grant Thorton and supplemented with data from the Indian Embassy to the United States.


Data on jobs created directly or indirectly from exports is estimated by the Trade Partnership (Washington, DC). This data is derived using domestic employment requirement tables from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Direct jobs tied to an industry's exports represent jobs in that industry and are assumed to be located in the state. Indirect jobs tied to an industry's exports represent jobs in all other industries and may be located throughout the United States, as well as in the state. Adding direct and indirect jobs estimates would provide the national job impact of a state's exports for a given industry but would overstate the number of jobs supported in the state itself, and therefore should not be done to estimate total jobs supported by exports in a state.

Data on jobs from investment comes from the fDi Markets database, which tracks open source announcements of greenfield investment since 2003. The fDi Markets database is updated monthly, though data on our site reflects annualized data only. Jobs data is sometimes estimated based on the amount and type of investment announced, and the number reflects only jobs created as a part of greenfield projects - wherein a company builds or expands new facilities and does not include mergers, acquisitions, or other capital inflows or investment.

Travel and Tourism

US tourism data is from the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI). Data for visitors from ASEAN is from the UN World Tourism Organisation Yearbook of Tourism Statistics 2016 (©UNWTO, 92844/37/16). Data on the number of tourists and tourist spending in Asian countries is from the tourism bureaus of the related Asian countries.

Visitor spending by US state is calculated based on estimates from the Trade Partnership (Washington, DC). Figures are calculated by combining services data in the following categories: Passenger Fares, Travel, and Travel (Education Related).

Educational Exchange

International student data is from the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors Report. Data is based on the US academic calendar years which begin the fall and end in the summer of the following year.

Data on the economic contribution of students is calculated by the East-West Center in Washington based on data from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. This data is calculated with the assumption that all international students contribute equally to the state or district economies. Economic contribution figures should not be taken to reflect actual spending by a particular group of international students.

Data on US students studying abroad is generally one academic year behind data on international students in the United States.


US Census population data reflects people who self-reported their ethnicity on the census form as “Asian alone or in combination with other races.” Data on ethnicity and population is from the US Census Bureau via their American Fact Finder search tool. The US Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which produces 1, 3, and 5-year estimates on the population with varying margins of error is used for annual population estimations between censuses and is based on surveys distributed to a portion of the US population.

The Asia Matters for America/America Matters for Asia website and publications use data from the American Community Survey 5-year estimates of Asian alone or in combination by selected groups aggregated from the Congressional district data unless otherwise noted. Data on Australian Americans is based on people reporting Australian ancestry.

Data on remittances - personal money transferred between two different countries, usually between imigrants and their families - come from the World Bank's Bilateral Remittances Matrices.

Sister Partnerships and Community Connections

Sister cities are based on Sister Cities International data and individual sister city sources. Not all sister cities are members of the Sister Cities International membership organization, data on some sister city relationships are collected from government websites (including the Governors Association of Korea and the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) in Japan), news articles, and sister city-specific websites.

Special Projects

The Trump Administration and Indo-Pacific Relations

Policy materials and quotations from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are limited to after November 9, 2016, when they were formally elected as the 45th President and 48th Vice President of the United States, respectively. Policy materials and quotations from United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr. have been collated since their Senate confirmation hearings on March 18, 2017, January 12, 2017, January 12, 2017 (while he was being confirmed as Director of the CIA), and January 18, 2017, respectively. Should any quotations before the period be deemed relevant they will be indicated by an asterisk (*) after the date. In all cases, these additional quotations were made within the year prior to the start of the Trump Administration.

2016 US Presidential Campaigns on Asia

Candidates included in this effort are those being tracked at the national level by the non-partisan RealClearPolitics poll tracker as of March 18th, 2016. Candidates who subsequently suspend or end their campaigns will be removed from this database. Documents were found through open sources such as news, media, Congressional office websites, candidate campaign pages, candidate websites, online media, etc. Works dated before the presidential candidates announced his/her official campaign have not been included. For the vice presidential candidates, resources dated before their candidacy that are present on their official websites within the last are included and sourced as taking place while they served in their respective roles.


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