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August 2, 2001

Report: Asians/Pacific Islanders Struggle
As Sacramento Poverty Rises

Poverty among Sacramento County Asians and Pacific Islanders has increased dramatically in the last decade - despite the relatively strong economy - according to a new report by California State University, Sacramento professor of business statistics Robert Mogull.

Robert MogullOverall, the report says, the county's poverty rate increased to 14.5 percent, up 2 percent from a decade ago. Meanwhile, the poverty rate of the Asian and Pacific Islander population rose to 34.4 percent, up 11 percent in the last decade and up 22 percent in the last two decades.

The increase was largely among Southeast Asians, mostly the recent immigrants, Mogull says.

"When you talk about Asians, you're talking about a very diverse group of people," Mogull says. "I would say the Hmongs and others from Southeast Asia are least well off, while those of Japanese, Indian and Chinese descent are doing relatively well."

Blacks, children, the elderly and female-headed households have also lost ground in Sacramento County, though not nearly as much as Asians, the report says. The black poverty rate in Sacramento County is now 26.7 percent, up 2.7 percent in the last decade; the child rate is 23.6 percent, up 4.1 percent; the elderly rate is 8.1, up 1.3 percent; and the female-headed household rate is 31.1 percent, up 2.8 percent.

Among other groups in Mogull's report, white and Hispanic poverty stayed relatively the same (8.8 and 20 percent respectively), and the Native American poverty rate dropped significantly from 19.7 percent to 15.8 percent.

In 1999, the poverty level for a family of three was $13,290. For a family of four it was $17,029 and for a single individual it was $8,501.

In compiling the report, Mogull used a statistical method for predicting poverty that he has developed over the last decade. He has previously used it to predict poverty statewide and in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area.

The method is intended to provide policymakers with accurate, annual local poverty data based in part on census data collected every 10 years. He uses the same ethnic categories as the U.S. Census Bureau.

Mogull plans to complete projections for Sacramento County poverty through 2009 when the current census poverty data for the county becomes available in mid-2002.

The report was compiled with support from a CSUS Research and Creative Activity Award Program grant, at the request of a Sacramento coalition seeking to enact a "living wage" ordinance in the City of Sacramento.

More information is available by contacting Mogull at either (916) 278-7142 or by e-mail at mogullr@csus.edu. Media assistance is available by contacting CSUS public affairs at (916) 278-6156.


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