I hate to get too academic on this blog, so please forgive me as I enumerate my issues with the Pew Research Center Report on Asian Americans that is circulating this morning. I will try to be as brief and clear as possible.
This report presents an overly optimistic picture of the state of Asian America. I think it’s fantastic that their research sample was better educated and happier with life than the typical American. However, we must look more closely at who they talked to in order to obtain these results.
The Pew Research Center survey was designed to contain a nationally representative sample of each of the six largest Asian-American groups by country of origin—Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, Indian Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Korean Americans and Japanese Americans. Together these groups comprise at least 83% of the total Asian population in the U.S.
I am no expert on research survey design, but we might note that the Asian American groups with the highest poverty rates (namely Cambodians, Hmong, and Laotians) are not included in this survey. According to C. N. Le’s analyses of Census 2000 data, Cambodians, Hmong, and Laotians have poverty rates similar to those of blacks and Latinos. 22.5% of Cambodians, Hmong, and Laotians in the US lived in poverty, compared to 24.9% of blacks and 21.4% of Latinos.