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Asian Americans are highest earners: US Census

Asians in the US have a median income of $57,518 as compared to the national average of $44,389.
By Ela Dutt (IANS) | PTI, New York
PUBLISHED ON AUG 31, 2005 03:22 PM IST

Asians in the US are the highest earning subgroup with a median income of $57,518 compared to the national average of $44,389, according to new data by the US census based on sample surveys for 2004.

The report titled "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004 Report", however, noted an increase in the country's poverty rate, a political downer for President George W. Bush's administration and the Republican Party's unquestionable majority in Congress.

The nation's official poverty rate rose from 12.5 percent in 2003 to 12.7 percent in 2004. But poverty among Asian Americans declined in the last one year.

Past decadal census figures showed that Indian Americans were the highest earning ethnic group in the country sometimes competing closely with Japanese Americans. Though the current data released does not contain a breakdown into subgroups among Asians, it shows Asian Americans have the highest median income at $57,518, compared to the national average of $44,389.

The report's data were compiled from information collected in the 2005 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS).

The real median household income did not change between 2003 and 2004 for most of the groups including Asian Americans.

Black households had the lowest median income in 2004 ($30,134) among race groups. The median income for non-Hispanic white households was $48,977. Median income for Hispanic households was $34,241.

The percentage of the nation's population without health insurance coverage remained stable at 15.7 percent in 2004 but the numbers increased by 800,000 up to 45.8 million, a major critique hurled by Democrats at the President's health system changes.

At the same time, the number of people with health insurance increased by two million to 245.3 million between 2003 and 2004.

Real median income remained unchanged for native as well as for foreign-born households between 2003 and 2004 with foreign-born households continuing to show lower levels. Native and foreign-born households had a median income in 2004 of $45,319 and $39,421, respectively.

More than two million people sank below the poverty threshold according to the report, which shows 37.0 million people in poverty (12.7 percent) in 2004, up from 35.9 million (12.5 percent) in 2003. However, the poverty rate for Asians actually declined from 11.8 percent in 2003 to 9.8 percent in 2004.

(The average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2004 was an income of $19,307; for a family of three, $15,067; for a family of two, $12,334; and for unrelated individuals, $9,645.)

An interesting number is that relating to foreign-born naturalized citizens who showed a poverty rate of 9.8 percent in 2004 compared to the much higher 21.6 percent for those who had not become citizens.

The uninsured rate for Asians declined 2 percent between 2003 and 2004, from 18.8 percent to 16.8 percent.

While the proportion of the foreign-born population without health insurance in 2004 (33.7 percent) was unchanged from 2003, the rate for the native-born population increased (from 13.0 percent in 2003 to 13.3 percent in 2004).

Fairfax County, Virginia, adjacent to Washington DC where a significant number of Indian Americans reside, remained the highest median household income region in the country at $88,133.

Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) had among the highest median earnings for both men and women who worked full-time, year-round, with the capital giving women the highest parity, women earning 91 cents for every dollar a man earned.

Among the 22 major occupational groups, men earned the most in legal occupations, such as lawyers, judges and law clerks (more than $100,000), occupations that more and more Indian American youth are entering. Among women, those in computer and mathematical occupations had the highest median earnings ($56,585).

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