Roughly one in four Asian New Yorkers lived in poverty in 2020, according to a report released by Robin Hood, a poverty-fighting organization based in New York City.
In collaboration with Columbia University, the organization spotlighted the experience of New York’s Asian American communities in its fourth Poverty Tracker annual report, “The State Of Poverty And Disadvantage In New York City.”
The organization found that 47% of Asian New Yorkers faced financial or health disadvantages in 2020, especially among those with a high school degree or less, those with limited English proficiency and those aged 65 or older.
The researchers also noted Asian Americans have historically been among the most underrepresented and understudied racial groups in the country. In an effort to address this, the Poverty Tracker included Asians originating from more than 30 countries other than the U.S. and expanded its data collection by sampling Mandarin Chinese speakers. Among 559 Asian survey respondents, 61% took the survey in Mandarin or Traditional Chinese characters.
The results reflected that 23% of Asians lived in poverty in 2020, which was comparable to Black and Latinx New Yorkers living in poverty and about twice as much as among White respondents.
Asian New Yorkers who were 65 or older in 2020 had a poverty rate of 28% compared to the poverty rate of 23% for seniors citywide. Those with a high school degree or less in 2020 also had a poverty rate of 33% compared to the 27% of all New Yorkers.
“This report sheds light on what our community is feeling while pointing toward a real need for bold investments from lawmakers to tackle poverty in our city,” Wayne Ho, president and CEO of the Chinese American Planning Council, said in a press release. “We have seen the benefits of influential, intentional poverty-fighting policies in New York City and have evidence that change is in our grasp, but many of those policies have expired and several continued to exclude immigrant families.”
“Now is not the time to waver,” Ho added. “We need bold government policies and resources that can keep all New Yorkers out of poverty and on the path toward economic mobility.”