When Yin Ou’s family moved from Myanmar to the United States in 2009, her mother had to do minimum wage jobs like jewelry packaging and babysitting to support the family.
“My parents didn’t have the knowledge to start a business, get an IRA, or invest,” says Yin, who lives in Queens, New York. At 22, Yin is the family breadwinner and has three jobs while attending college.
Yin’s story isn’t unique among Burmese Americans, but it’s not mentioned often in the larger Asian-American narrative. The population of the Asia-American Pacific islanders is extremely diverse. It includes subgroups from more than 20 countries, and economic data often overshadows the poverty of many Asian Americans.
According to the Pew Research Center, the median household income of Asian American households was $ 85,800 in 2019, slightly higher than the total median household income in the United States. However, Burmese Americans have a household income of $ 44,400, about half the median income for Asians in the United States. It is an example of the growing income inequality within the Asian-American community.
Watch the video above to learn more about the growing income gap among Asian Americans, how it started, and what’s next for the group.