Asian Americans had higher poverty rate than whites in 2011, study says


Contrary to popular perception, not all Asian Americans are basking in financial security and working high-income jobs after years of intensive schooling.

The official poverty rate of Asian Americans in 2011 actually exceeded that of whites by 2.5 percentage points, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The numbers are even more grim when adjusted for cost-of-living differences between regions.


The Economic Policy Institute found that Asian Americans tend to cluster around relatively expensive cities in the Northeast or West. In 2011, for example, nearly a third of Asians in the U.S. lived in the metropolitan regions around Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.

Adjusted for cost differences, Asians had a poverty rate of 16.1% compared with the 10.4% rate of whites in the country, a study by the Economic Policy Institute showed. Even stripping away the cost-of-living differences, the gap between Asians and whites in the country’s poverty rate was 2.9 percentage points, the study said.


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