Monday, July 22, 2013

Report shows that the number of Pacific Islanders in poverty grew faster than any other major group during recession

Last month, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, better known as National CAPACD presented "Spotlight: Asian American and Pacific Islander Poverty." It's full of different data, but here's the figure that caught our attention:

From 2007 to 2011, America's population of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders living in poverty increased by 60 percent.  

The Pacific Islander increase of 60 percent is more than twice the national rate's increase of 27 percent. In fact, of all of the racial groups studied (Whites, Blacks, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, and Asian) Pacific Islanders saw the biggest percentage increase in the population living in poverty. 

It's also a figure that would have been lost if the study's authors had merely lumped Pacific Islanders in with Asians.  As National CAPACD demonstrates with their report, the increase shown when AAs and PIs are grouped together was 38 percent, which is almost identical to the rate for Asians (37 percent) but significantly lower than the Pacific Islander rate of (60 percent).

Disaggregated data on the AA/PI populations reveals the income disparities within subsets of this diverse group. Yet policymakers and others don't always realize the differences between the dozens of subgroups under the AA/PI umbrella.

Mahalo to National CAPACD for this important study, and for demonstrating a commitment to recognizing the need for clear data on Pacific Islanders! The full report is available here, and additional information on National CAPACD can be found on their website,


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