September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document


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Title:Where new immigrants rushed in, median income dropped: Chinese communitys median household income slid in the last decade

Author:Qianxiu Lim

Publication:World Journal

Original Language:Chinese

Translator:Xiaoqing Rong


Blurb:TriBeCa and Chinatown are divided by only one streetBroadway. However, the disparity between rich on the west side of Broadway, and poor on the east side of Broadway, grew in the last decade. Professor Andrew Beveridge, of Queens College, analyzed the data.


Body:TriBeCa and Chinatown are divided by only one streetBroadway. However, the disparity between the rich on the west side of Broadway, and poor on the east side of Broadway, grew in the last decade. According to a newly released scholarly analysis of census data, the median household income in TriBeCa increased $20,000 in the last 10 years to about $90,000. In contrast, Chinatowns median income dropped $3,000 in the same period, to only $20,000.

The same trend was observed in Flushing, Bayside and other areas where new Chinese immigrants dominate.

This conclusion is from the analysis of Andrew Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College. Professor Beveridge based his analysis on data released by the Census Bureau recently. The census, which covered all of New York, didnt specify neighborhoods, such as TriBeCa, Chinatown, Lower East Side, Flushing and Bayside. Professor Beveridge re-cataloged the data by these neighborhood units, making the trend more apparent.

During the interview, Prof. Beveridge that said that, as some sociologists predicted, New York City has a pyramid-shaped economy. In this model, well-educated, high-tech people are at the top. Their income is much more than that of less-educated laborers, who occupy the bottom. There is almost no middle area in the pyramid. The poor only work to improve the lives of the rich.

Most residents in TriBeCa work in finance or high-tech industries, and most residents in Chinatown work as low-skilled laborers, said Prof. Beveridge. The neighborhoods of TriBeCa and Chinatown are a typical example of the pyramid social structure.

The Census Bureau released its data on Aug. 5. Before that, similar data had been circulating among Prof. Beveridge and other sociologists. The most confusing fact was the decrease in median household income over the last decade. In his analysis, Prof. Beveridge found that the locations of the sharpest decreases were neighborhoods where new immigrants rushed in. Those areas brought the entire citys median household income down.

But, Prof. Beveridge said, if there had been no immigrants, the population of New York City would have decreased. In other words, New York is mixture of new arrivals from abroad and U.S.-born people. Compared to that of new immigrants, the native-born Americans professional skills are higher. This also explains why average household income slid in those areas where new arrivals are replacing old residents.

According to Prof. Beveridges analysis, during the last ten years the average household income in Chinatown decreased $3,309 to $20,344. In Sunset Park, it rose $409 to $30,151. At Flushing, it increased $305 to $30,1676. However, even in these areas, Asian residents incomes largely shrank. Asian residents average household income in Chinatown and Sunset Park decreased $2,996 and $8,318 to $18,629 and $28,202 respectively. In Flushing, the Asian residents average household income is $30,907. Although it is the highest among the three Chinese areas, it dropped $2,113 in the last decade.

The prosperous underground economy in Chinatown, in which people do business with cash, partially contributes to Asian residents comparatively low income.

However, as Frank Lang of Asian Americans for Equality pointed out, even if some Chinese people didnt claim all of their income, most Chinese have more family members working than the average New York household. This is because low-income Chinese laborers often share a single room with a couple of people to cut expenses.

In this situation, the average household income is still so low. No doubt that Chinatown is at the bottom of the economic ladder, said Lang.

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