A study of South Asians in the US has revealed huge disparities in their education, employment and wealth. South Asians in the US have the highest percentage of people with advanced degrees compared to the general population, but they also have a higher percentage of people with less than a fifth grade education, the study found.
The report, Making data count, prepared by the Chicago-based South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI), compares the status of major South Asian groups with other Asian Americans and the US population, as revealed by the 2000 census.
Though the South Asian median household income at $50,723 is higher than the national median income of $41,994, they have high poverty levels among families, the elderly and children. South Asian women are more disadvantaged, with lower education, income and employment rates than men.
Among other findings of the report:
(i) The Asian American population has tripled in size over the last two decades, from 3.4 million in 1980 to 10.2 million in 2000. Among the major Asian American sub-groups, Indians recorded the highest growth rate of 106 percent between 1990 and 2000.
(ii) The South Asian American population is young and with a median age of 31 years, and, like most new immigrant populations in the US, has more males (53 percent) than females (47 percent). The ratio of males to females and the percentage of youths under 18 are higher among Pakistanis and Bangladeshis than among Indians and Sri Lankans.
(iii) An overwhelming majority of South Asians speak a language other than English at home. Nearly one quarter, or 416,530 speak English less than very well.
(iv) Between one-third and two-thirds of South Asians are in the management, professional and related categories, with Indians and Sri Lankans (60 percent and 57 percent respectively) having a significantly higher percentage than Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.
(v) Within the South Asian population, Indians and Sri Lankans have higher incomes than the Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. Both male and female median earnings are particularly low for Bangladeshis at $30,901 for men and $19,308 for women.
(vi) Nearly one in four Bangladeshi (25 percent) and one in five Pakistani (20 percent) children live below the poverty line compared to less than one in six for the general population.
The increasing numbers in the South Asian community should translate into a greater presence in the political mainstream and in efforts to reform immigration laws and fight hate crimes and discrimination, Kalayil said.
Sources : Online Resources