NEW REPORT SHOWS ASIAN AMERICANS LIVING IN POVERTY IN THE NEW YORK METRO AREA INCREASED BY 15 PERCENT OVER THE LAST DECADE
Asian American Federation Report Found Asian Americans in the New York Metro Area Living in Poverty Increased from Over 252,000 in 2010 to almost 290,000 in 2019; Asian Americans now Make up 10.4% of Those Living in Poverty in the New York Metro Area
Many Asian Americans Living in Poverty Leaving New York City for Suburban Areas
New York:____A new report from the Asian American Federation (AAF) found that Asian Americans living in poverty in the New York metro area increased by 15 percent over the last decade from just over 252,000 in 2010 to almost 290,000 in 2019, mostly due to overall growth of the Asian American population. Asian Americans now make up 10.4 percent of those living in poverty in the New York metro area, up from 9.2 percent in 2010. The report also found that Asian Americans who have been in the country for an extended period of time are moving to the suburban areas of the New York metro area, rather than stay in New York City. However, recent Asian immigrants living in poverty moving into the metro area from abroad continue to prefer New York City due to the access to in-language and culturally competent services offered by community-based organizations in Asian American neighborhoods.
“As Asians become a large share of the population living in poverty and many are moving to the suburbs, New York’s local and state agencies in suburban areas will have to make sure their social services are linguistically and culturally accessible to address the needs of this diverse population,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. “Providing relevant services will require outreach that makes use of cultural networks, ethnic media, and trusted voices and leaders in the community, and could go a long way to lifting this community out of poverty.”
Representative Grace Meng (NY-6) said, “The increase in Asian Americans living in poverty is disturbing and underscores that more work needs to be done to combat the problem. I thank the Asian American Federation for shining a light on this critical issue and for providing actionable items to improve the situation such as addressing educational opportunities, improving language access, supporting seniors, and strengthening key services. In order for benefit programs to address the root problem of poverty, those with limited English proficiency must be able to navigate them in an equitable manner. That is why I have championed initiatives in Congress such as increasing language access and reducing cultural barriers in federal programs. I look forward to continuing to work on these and other issues to ensure all achieve the American Dream.”
New York State Senator John Liu said, “This report confirms and accentuates the hard truth that Asian Americans have long suffered from poverty and that the problem has worsened in recent years. This must serve as a call to action for government and private organizations alike to direct resources to the Asian American community. Only when foundations of strength and resiliency are created with these resources can the community achieve long-term equality, well-being, and stronger immunity against the hate and bigotry that has pummeled Asian Americans over the past year and a half.”
“As the first South Asian man elected in New York City, it’s vital to bring light to issues facing my community and highlight work that organizations like the Asian American Federation are doing. Their recent Poverty Report shows how class intersects with Asian American identities, and I look forward to working with them to ensure that all New Yorkers can access the services they need for dignity,” said New York Assembly Member Zohran K. Mamdani.
“This report by the Asian American Federation will go a long way to ensuring that the needs of Asian Americans in the New York metro area are met,” said New York Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar. “In order to help this community out of poverty—we must provide them the necessary social services and access to trusted networks so they are set up to succeed.”
“This report spells out the needs of our growing Asian population, and it is essential that we act swiftly on this data to address Asian poverty. We have the tools at our disposal to create more housing opportunities which will help new immigrants as well as those who have been in the United States for the majority of their lives,” said New York City Council Member Margaret Chin. “Thank you to the Asian American Federation for their persistence in supporting the Asian community in New York.”
New York City Council Member Peter Koo stated, “The rising levels of poverty among Asian Americans in the New York metro area shows an imminent need for expanded services from all sectors of government. As this report indicates, targeted improvements to education, language access, senior support and social services capacity will go far to reduce poverty and inequity within our Asian American communities.”
“The ‘model minority’ myth which stereotypes all Asian Americans as highly educated and successful hides the harsh economic realities of many Asian Americans,” said Kyung B. Yoon, President and Co-Founder, Korean American Community Foundation (KACF). “KACF recognizes the importance of this critical research by the Asian American Federation in highlighting the devastating poverty and other barriers to full inclusion that many Asian Americans face. We are proud to fund this report which provides a fuller picture of the variation within the Asian American population and, most importantly, policy recommendations for addressing poverty in our communities.”
This report was based on survey data collected before the COVID-19 epidemic. As a result, the number of Asian Americans in the New York Metropolitan Area is expected to rise and poverty levels among Asian Americans in the New York Metro region are likely to surpass levels last seen during the Great Recession in 2007. For this report, the New York metro area includes counties in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
The Asian groups in the metro area with the highest poverty rates were Mongolian, Burmese, Bangladeshi, Cambodian, Chinese, Pakistani, and Malaysian, which were all above the metrowide Asian poverty rate of 11.5 percent. Several groups had more than one fifth of their population living near the poverty line: Bangladeshi, Chinese, Nepalese, and Pakistani. For those households living near the poverty line, the loss of one job will likely take the whole household into poverty.
The Asian American Federation’s report makes recommendations to help Asian Americans in poverty that cover the following areas:
Education: Over the long term, educational opportunities for both children and adults are the route out of poverty.
Language Access: There is an urgent need for improved language access for the Asian American community. Programs and benefits aimed at alleviating poverty need to be delivered in-language across the New York metro area.
Senior Support: Language and cultural barriers, as well as a high poverty rate, indicate that Asian elders have a desperate need for services. As the Asian senior population continues to grow at a rapid pace, CBOs that serve them will be even more stretched.
Social Services Capacity: To address the key gaps in services outside of New York City, AAF looks to government and philanthropy to invest in creating and expanding capacity for organizations to provide in-language, culturally competent services. As the Asian American population continues to disperse throughout the metro area, these services must follow them to wherever they move.