In US, Asian immigrants better off than whites: Study

Asians, generally, lived on average in neighborhoods with higher incomes and more college-educated residents.

Afp June 26, 2013
Asians, generally, lived on average in neighborhoods with higher incomes and more college-educated residents. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: Asian immigrants tend to live in highly segregated enclaves in the United States and their income level is often higher than that of white Americans, said a US study out Wednesday.

The nearly 18 million Asian immigrants to the United States are the country's fastest growing minority group, more than doubling since 1990, said the research by Brown University.

Data from the US Census provided a snapshot of the Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese living in the United States and how trends have changed.

The report, "Separate but Equal: Asian Nationalities in the US," found that Indians and Japanese were the most economically advantaged nationalities, while Vietnamese had the lowest incomes and the least education among Asian groups.

Still, Vietnamese tended to live in neighborhoods that were about on par with average whites, said the report.

Every other Asian nationality lived on average in neighborhoods with higher incomes and more college-educated residents than non-Hispanic whites did, it said.

"We are so aware of the disadvantaged situation of blacks and Hispanics that we tend to assume that segregation results in unequal neighborhoods for minorities," said John Logan, a sociology professor at Brown University.

"This isn't the case for any major Asian nationality. And that means there is very little incentive for Asians to assimilate into white neighborhoods."

Chinese were the single largest national group, with more than four million people or a quarter of the Asian total, followed by Filipinos (3.4 million) and Indians (3.2 million).

"Indians and Japanese are the more advantaged nationalities, while Vietnamese have the highest unemployment, lowest income, and least education among these groups," said the report.

Indians had the highest median household income among Asians, at $89,600 in 2010 compared to non-Hispanic whites at $54,000. Filipinos were second highest, followed by Chinese and Japanese.

"Asians live separately but in some respects they live in better than equal neighborhoods compared to whites," said the report.

"Although there are variations among the Asian national origin groups (with Vietnamese living generally in the least affluent neighborhoods, and Japanese, Koreans and Indians in the more affluent areas) the findings are similar for all groups."

Los Angeles and New York have the highest number of Asian immigrants, with nearly 1.5 million in each metro area.


Reason | 8 years ago | Reply

@Rafi Ka Deewana: "Indians can’t relate to China the way they do to Pakistanis. Likewise, can Pakistan relate to its other (Muslim) neighbors the way it relates to India? No."

We are discussing economical comparisons, not cultural ones. India has much more cultural relevance with Pakistan than China. Pakistan (and Bangladesh) exists due to a divided Indian subcontinent. Many families left India, hopping on trains, to cross over to the Pakistan side. I agree Pakistanis have many cultural similarities with India.

The mistake you are making is inferring that US Indians are economically outperforming US Pakistanis because there is an overlap of culture. That is a fallacy because the real comparison is whether US Indians are outperforming US Chinese. Who is economically and educationally advantaged when both countries can afford to send immigrants from their pool of 1 billion people when they are situated side by side and have similarly growing large economies? Clearly, the results indicate in favor of US Indians.

I will mention that if Pakistan had similar demographics and an economic parallelism on the same scale, we would be closer to weighing the two countries over whether US Pakistanis or US Indians are doing better in the US. That is not the case.

Rafi Ka Deewana | 8 years ago | Reply

Iqbal - that article is from 2002 - almost a century back given how much Pakistan has changed in last 11 years. Things must be much worse now.

India has been blamed for discriminating against the muslims. However the fact is, the muslims themselves don't want to progress whether they live in India, a western country, or in just about every muslim country. As they say, you can take a horse to the water, but can't force it to drink it.

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