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Rich And Poor Asian Americans

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The new report suggests that for Asian Americans, wealth inequality is also more pronounced.

There are many ways to measure inequality - in this case, the economists compared different wealth thresholds. According to the data, white families in the top 10 percent each had more than $1.26 million in 2010-2013, while white families in the bottom 20 percent each had less than $10,468. In other words, a typical rich white family was about 120 times wealthier than a typical poor white family.

Among Asian Americans, the cutoff to make it into the top 10 percent was actually higher - about $1.44 million. And the families at the bottom end seemed to be worse off - the poorest 20 percent of families were each worth less than $9,319. So a rich Asian household was about 168 times richer than a poor Asian household.

Such disparities are completely invisible according to the usual way we consider racial differences, which focuses on averages, not levels of inequality. Asian American households and white American households in fact have about the same amount of mean wealth - about $680,000, according to CAP's calculations. That creates the illusion that Asians are about as well off as whites. But as the report suggests, the richest Asian Americans are far more affluent than the poorest Asian Americans - so much so that they skew the data and obscure the problems of the people at the bottom.


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