I just received this press release from The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
on Asian American Poverty report and thought I should share it below. 


Among the facts about Asian-American poverty in the report:

In 2010, Asian Americans have a higher poverty rate than non-Hispanic Whites. Almost 12 percent of Asian Americans live in poverty, higher than the 9.9 percent rate of poverty among non-Hispanic whites.

Asian Americans as a group have lower-than-average poverty rates, but several Asian nationalities have higher than- average rates of poverty. The poverty rate among Hmongs is 37.8 percent, among Cambodians 29.3 percent, among Laotians 18.5 percent, and among Vietnamese 16.6 percent.
Asian American seniors are especially affected by poverty. Asian American seniors age 65 and over suffer from a poverty rate of 12.3 percent. This is higher than the national average for seniors, which stands at 9.9 percent, and the rate for non-Hispanic whites, which stands at 7.8 percent.

The Northeast and Great Lakes regions have especially high rates of Asian American poverty. New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania have some of the highest poverty rates among Asian Americans in the country, at 15.5 percent, 14.7 percent, and 14.8 percent, respectively. The Northeast is also home to some of the largest Asian American populations in the United States.
But we go another step toward advancing policy solutions to lift up Asian-American communities and families, which will be imperative to American progress on this front. Here are two sections of the report that speak to this:

Page 6 - “Today, more than ever in America, one’s family of origin and the community into which one is born determines social and economic mobility. Without the necessary policy changes to curb the level of unemployment and poverty among racial minority parents, millions more children will grow up in poor families and with the associated economic consequences of being poor. In 2010, 45.5 percent of African American children, 37.6 percent of Latino children, and 15.6 percent of Asian American children under the age of 5 lived in poverty.These are the children who will be driving our economy and democracy 25 years from now. With America expected to have no racial majority by the year 2050, it is important that we close racial and ethnic disparities for the long-term health of our economy.”

Page 111 “…And while poverty affects every race and nationality in our nation, we must also be brutally honest about the racial disparities that continue to separate blacks and Hispanics from whites. While the 2010 poverty rate among whites was 13 percent, 27.4 percent of blacks and 26.6 percent of Latinos lived in poverty. Our growing population and growing diversity as a nation is a source of strength in the international economic arena. But we need to provide economic opportunities to all Americans to capitalize on these important demographic trends—not least because these future taxpayers will be providing the fiscal resources for our own aging population in the coming decades.

Rising inequality among these emerging groups is unhealthy for our democracy, too, both in terms of economic growth and social conflicts. Escalating rates of poverty rob the United States of one of its fundamental values—the belief that one can achieve success through hard work. Thankfully, it’s not too late for us to act. This report lays out concrete steps our nation can and should take today to turn the tide on this crisis. By providing access to good jobs that honor the dignity of work and pay a decent wage, policies that strengthen families, and opportunities to promote economic security, we can chart a new course for America’s future—one based on the hard-won recognition that stable economic growth requires shared prosperity.”

For more info go to: www.civilrights.org

Andrew Lam is author of
East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres and Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diasora. His next book, Birds of Paradise, is due out in 2013.