Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders living in Sacramento experience poverty at about double the rate of their counterparts across California

Jocelyn Wiener:

Researchers say they were surprised to learn that 25.4 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islander families in Sacramento have incomes below the federal poverty line -- $20,000 for a family of four. By comparison, about 12.8 percent of Asian Americans and 15.7 percent of Pacific Islanders across the state have incomes below the poverty line.

Timothy P. Fong, director of the Asian American Studies Program at Sacramento State and co-author of the report, said the research calls into question conventional wisdom that portrays Asian Americans as a "model minority."

"In some ways, generally speaking, that may be true," he said. "But it's not an absolute truth. There's a lot of important nuances and differences that must be taken into account."

Fong and co-author Greg Kim-Ju, an assistant professor of psychology at CSUS, spent nearly a year analyzing data derived from the 2000 census and other sources. They decided to conduct the study after seeing another study of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, which they say lumped Sacramento in with the rest of the Central Valley.

"We really wanted to focus on the city of Sacramento," Fong said.

The report provides a snapshot, by ethnic background, of everything from home ownership to household size to education level to population growth rate.

Specifically, the report shows that poverty rates vary dramatically among ethnic groups. In Sacramento, 38.5 percent of Vietnamese Americans, 46.1 percent of Hmong Americans and 53.1 percent of Samoan Americans live in poverty. By contrast, 5.2 percent of Japanese Americans live in poverty.

For comparison, the poverty rate according to 2000 census data for whites in Sacramento was 13.1 percent; for American Indians, 24.7 percent; African Americans, 27.1 percent; and Latinos, 23.1 percent.

Sacramento's Asian American poverty rate may be so high when compared with the state as a whole because Asian Americans who live in regions like Silicon Valley tend to be much more settled and have higher incomes, Fong said. Sacramento, by contrast, has for years attracted a disproportionate number of Hmong and Vietnamese refugees.

Hmong Americans are currently the second largest Asian ethnic group in Sacramento, after Chinese Americans, Fong said. They are also, absolutely, the fastest growing group, he said.

Study finds Asian Americans in Sacramento face high poverty rates

Culture shock, poverty plague Hmong in Michigan


At 12:32 AM, Anonymous Income Insurance said...

Let's hope for the poverty rate in this area to lessen.


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