When Yin Ou’s family moved to the United States from Myanmar in 2009, her mother had to do minimum wage jobs like jewelry wrapping 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 the age of 22, Yin is the family breadwinner and works three jobs while studying.
Yin’s story isn’t unique among Burmese Americans, but it’s not often spoken of 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 above the total median household income in the United States. However, Burmese Americans have a household income of $ 44,400, about half the median income of Asians in the United States. This is an example of increasing income inequality within the Asian-American community.
Check out the video above to learn more about the growing income gap among Asian Americans, how it started, and what’s next for the group.