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Asian Americans Play Vital, Varied Roles In New York-Area Economy And Face Contrasting Economic Conditions, Asian American Federation Reports

Analysis Shows Asians Have Higher Employment but Earn Less Than General Population, Are Less Likely To Own Homes but Have Higher-Valued Homes

Federation Calls for Improving Asian Economic Opportunities, Sets Community Briefing for Monday, Nov. 14

NEW YORK – Asian Americans in the New York Metropolitan Area make major and diverse contributions to the region’s economy while facing contrasting economic conditions.

On the one hand, Asians are well-represented in such high-income professions as scientists, doctors and computer specialists. Asians are more likely to hold jobs and slightly more apt to participate in the work force than the general population. Asian-owned homes overall also have higher value than homes region-wide.

On the other hand, large portions of the Asian population hold essential but low-paying jobs in such as clothing factories, restaurants, and laundries or drive taxis. Asians as a whole have lower earnings, family and per capita income, and home-ownership rates than the region-wide population.

In addition, economic experiences vary widely among Asians, and some population segments have needs.

These are key findings of the most extensive analysis to date of economic traits of Asians in the New York area, released today by the Asian American Federation of New York, a nonprofit leadership organization. The report, titled Economic Characteristics of Asian Americans in the New York Metropolitan Area, is at, where the executive summary is available for download and the full report may be ordered.

The Federation will hold a community briefing, including a presentation and a panel discussion, on its findings Monday, Nov. 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. on the 14th Floor of the Citigroup Center, at 153 E. 53rd St. (between Lexington and Third avenues). Media representatives are welcome.

Funded by the Citigroup Foundation, AT&T Foundation and C.J. Huang Foundation, the Federation’s report takes an unprecedented in-depth look at work, income and housing characteristics of the regional Asian population, based on analysis of 2000 census data. The Federation’s Census Information Center, affiliated with the U.S. Census Bureau, prepared the report to inform local employment practices and policy-making affecting Asians – an underexamined and often-overlooked population despite being the fastest-growing racial group in the region.

“Our analysis demonstrates that Asian Americans are a vital part of the fabric of the New York area’s economy, filling a range of roles in apparel manufacturing, finance, food service, health care, personal services, science and technology” said Cao K. O, executive director of the Asian American Federation. “Asian Americans contribute to the region’s economic competitiveness and add to the smooth operation of the economy.”

Continuing, O said: “While many Asian Americans are doing well financially, we found that certain population groups need additional attention. Conditions meriting further investigation include severe poverty for Asian American senior citizens and immigrants; large shares of Pakistani, Chinese and Korean Americans in low-paying jobs; high unemployment for elderly Indian and Filipino Americans; and low work-force participation, in some cases with high unemployment, for Pakistani, Indian and Japanese American women.”

O said the report indicates needs for:

Among the report’s findings for Asians overall, related to Census 2000 data:

The report takes a closer look at economic traits of the region’s six largest Asian ethnic groups. Key ethnic-specific findings, pertaining to 2000 census data, include the following:

The Asian American Federation of New York is a nonprofit leadership organization that works to advance the civic voice and quality of life of Asian Americans in the New York metropolitan area. Established in 1990, the Federation supports and collaborates with 37 member agencies to strengthen community services, promotes strategic philanthropy within the Asian American community, and conducts research and advocacy concerning critical issues.

The Federation’s Census Information Center (CIC) is the only such U.S. Census Bureau-designated center in the Northeast that focuses on serving Asian Americans. Opened in 2000, the center provides census information, conducts data and policy analysis, and promotes census participation.


Download the Executive Summary (PDF 1MB)