Asian-Americans have the highest poverty rate out of any ethnic group in New York with 27% living in need of a permanent job, according to the city’s data.
Each day in downtown Flushing in the New York City borough of Queens, thousands of day laborers gather on street corners hoping to find work.
They offer a variety of services such as landscaping, plumbing, painting or anything that will put food on the table, ABC Eyewitness News reported.
“It’s kind of sad to see in this day and age, there’s a lot of job insecurity and people still have to line up on the streets and not know if they’re going to get a job on a daily basis, and in times when they get injured they’re not sure where they’re going to get the next paycheck,” said Mike Cheng, a real estate developer at Epos Development who is also a member of the Community Board.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016, Asian-Americans are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the U.S. and are set to be the largest immigrant group in the country by 2065.
They are widely known for being more educated and in a more favorable financial circumstance than most Americans.
But the “model minority” myth can be problematic when it hides the more than 2 million Asian-Americans living poverty.
They include Indian, Pakistan, Bangladeshi, Cambodian, Hmong and Laotian populations.
Less than 1% of state funding goes to tackling poverty in the city.
State Assemblyman Ron Kim said the solution is to start with funding adult literacy programs.
“Right now there’s a crisis in New York State. There are roughly 3.5 million immigrants that need adult literacy programs and only 7,500 immigrants are getting them,” said Kim.