Asian Poverty and the “Model Minority”

Matt Bruenig, Jacobin Magazine, April 17, 2017

Andrew Sullivan has a post where he argues that the economic success of Asians in the United States suggests that the lack of financial success of other groups cannot be chalked up to racism.

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I think it is useful to note that Asian economic success also varies a lot by group.

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Poverty Rate Among Asian Groups in America

Data from the five-year American Community Survey. Graph from Jacobin Magazine.

Some Asian groups are doing well, but others are doing very poorly. Cambodians and Hmong people, for instance, have poverty rates that are similar to those of blacks, Natives, and Latinos.

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When you group them all together, the subgroups that are doing well make up a big enough share of the overall Asian population that you get some relatively good overall statistics. But the reality is that “Asians” refers to many different groups that have very divergent economic situations.

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