The ‘Asian American Advantage’ Apparently Doesn’t Exist
By Khier Casino
December 31, 2016
Asian Americans continue to have a higher median income, but not just because of being better educated, it also has to do with geographical location.
In a blog post published Thursday, the Washington Post noted the “Asian American advantage” that many statistics on median household incomes show proves to be an illusion.
Citing the Census ACS 2015 5-year data, which covers more than 3 million Americans living in more than 1 million households, white and African Americans are more likely to live in cheaper areas, while Asians and Hispanic Americans are more likely to live in expensive ones.
Furthermore, nearly 1 in 5 white Americans live in rural counties, while 97 percent of Asian Americans live in or around a major city, where the cost of living is higher.
Asian Americans also tend to flock to the coasts, with more than 25 percent residing in one of the four most expensive cities to live in — Honolulu, San Jose, New York and San Francisco.
According to the Post, about 73 percent overall reside in metro areas with above-average costs, 24 percent below-average costs, and 3 percent in rural areas.
However, the chart below reveals that the median Asian American income declined by more than 8 percent over the last year due to the rise in rent in the places they live and groceries are more costly.
The one-year data also shows that the black-white income gap hasn’t changed much, while Hispanic household incomes declined by 3 percent, staying very close behind the median black income.
The report states that it’s important to have access to underlying survey data showing where individuals live when reporting economic statistics.
There are also several price variations in a metro area. For instance, it’s cheaper to live in Flushing, Queens — where many Asian Americans in New York reside — than in SoHo. But the available data on local prices represent approximate calculations.
Cities such as San Francisco and New York have welcomed Asian immigrants since the 1800s, making life there easier by helping people find jobs, connecting them with social services, and making them feel like a part of a community.
Because of this, most residents in these ethnic enclaves choose to stay, even though rent is rising fast.
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