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MPR: The High Poverty Rate in Asian American Community

KoreatownPerhaps nothing exemplifies the diversity of the Asian American community than this fact.

Asian-Americans have the highest income and education levels of any racial group in the country. Yet they also have a higher poverty rate than non-Hispanic Whites, 12.3% versus 9.3%, according to Minnesota Public Radio

“The Asian American population is quite diverse. But the actual Asian American population that does not have a high school education is actually higher than the White race. You also have a significant number of Asian American low wage earner,” said Algernon Austin of the Economic Policy Institute.

Asian Americans also are clustered in high cost of living cities with one-third of the Asian American population in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“So actually when you take into account the cost of living, the Asian American poverty rate is about 2 ½ percentage points higher than the official rate,” said Austin.

Asian Americans come from 50 different nations, yet are lumped together in one category.

“Cambodian, Lao, Hmong, Vietnamese largely immigrated to the US as political refugees because of war and in that case, their circumstances are different that would affect their educational attainment and their income levels, said Rosalind Chou, co-author of The Myth of the Model Minority.

“Even East Asian descent Asian Americans have higher rates of poverty and still higher rates of not having a high school education.”

You can listen to the entire interview with Chou and Austin on Minnesota Public Radio.


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