Community, Economy

8% of Indians live below poverty line: Census

Growing disparity between have and have not Indians.

Bureau Report

WASHINGTON, DC: The Indian American community has for long touted the fact of their having the highest per capita income among all groups in the United States, of the large number of doctors and engineers they churn out easily, and the growing number of entrepreneurs, but the latest Census figures also reveal the underbelly of the community, the desperation of a large number of them: more than eight per cent of the nearly three million Indian Americans are living below the poverty line.

The federal threshold for poverty is about $11,500 in annual income for an individual and about $23,000 for a family of four. The 8.2% of Asian Indians is a large number for the three million plus strong Indian-origin community in the country, but in comparison are far less poor than other ethnic groups and the national average, the Census Bureau report said.

The Japanese Americans too have a 8.2 per cent poverty rate, with the Vietnamese, with 14.7 per cent and the South Koreans, at 15.0 per cent, topping it, with the Filipinos recording the lowest poverty rate of 5.8 per cent.

According to the 2007-2011 American Community Survey, 42.7 million people in the United States had income below the poverty level. The national poverty rate is 14.7 per cent.

Among Hispanics, national poverty rates ranged from a low of 16.2 percent for Cubans to a high of 26.3 per cent for Dominicans. In its report the Census Bureau said two race groups had poverty rates more than 10 percentage points higher than the national rate of 14.3 per cent: American Indian and Alaska Native (27.0 per cent) and black or African-American (25.8 per cent).

Rates were above the overall national average for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (17.6 per cent), while poverty rates for people identified as white (11.6 percent) or Asian (11.7 per cent) were lower than the overall poverty rate.

The census report said Maryland and Virginia were among only six states with poverty rates under 20 percent for blacks, reported The Washington Post. In Maryland, less than 14 percent of blacks lived in poverty, compared with 19 percent of blacks in Virginia. Maryland, Hawaii and Alaska were the only states where a smaller proportion of African Americans lived below the poverty level than the national average.

By contrast, the region also experienced some of the country’s lowest poverty rates for whites — 6 percent in Maryland, and a little more than 8 percent in Virginia and the District.

Locally, all three jurisdictions showed a smaller share of Hispanics who are poor than the national average — 13 percent in Maryland, 14 percent in the District and 15 percent in Virginia.

The picture was more mixed for Asians. Poverty affected 7 percent of Asians in Maryland and 8 percent in Virginia, among the lowest rates in the country. In the District, however, 13 percent of Asians were poor, above the national average.

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