The United States’ growing Asian and Pacific Islander population tends to be better educated but earns less than other Americans, according to a Census Bureau study released Friday.
The group grew to an estimated 8.8 million in 1994, up from 7.3 million in 1990. People who trace their roots to Asia and the Pacific Islands comprise 3 percent of all Americans, and 8 percent in the West, where six in 10 reside.
Nearly 90 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander men and 80 percent of women were high school graduates, and both men and women were far more likely to hold a college degree.
Forty-one percent of Asians and Pacific Islanders held at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to just 22 percent of Americans overall and 24 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
College-educated Asian and Pacific Islander women reported comparable earnings with non-Hispanic white women working full-time in 1993, but men within the group earned a median income of $41,220, compared to $47,180 for non-Hispanic white males. That’s just $87 for every $100 earned by a non-Hispanic white male.
“Their education level might be higher, but … some of the earnings are not showing up from the education differences,” said Barbara Martin, a Census Bureau official who worked on the report.
Among those with only high school educations, the disparity was even greater. Asian and Pacific Islander women earned $17,330 and men earned $23,490, compared to $28,370 for non-Hispanic white men and $19,850 for women.
Immigration accounted for 86 percent of the increase in the Asian and Pacific Islander population in 1994. By the year 2000, the Census Bureau predicts that the group will number 12.1 million, accounting for 4 percent of the U.S. population.
Ninety-five percent of the studied group lived in metropolitan areas, compared to 75 percent of non-Hispanic whites.