According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Income and Poverty Report In The United States: 2019, real median household income data has reached all-time highs.
Not only has the real median household income by race reached all-time highs for everyone, but as you’ll also soon see that the rate of increase has accelerated for all races as well.
Let’s have a look at the details to see how high household income figures really were before the pandemic began. The U.S. Census Bureau should come out with a new Income and Poverty Report in 2023.
Real Median Household Income By Race
The real median household income for all races has reached $68,703. Well done! Here is the breakdown of real median household income by race as of 2019:
Asian: $98,174 ($29,471 or 43% higher than overall median)
White: $76,057 ($7,354 or 10.7% higher than overall median)
Hispanic: $56,113 ($12,590 or 18.3% lower than overall median)
Black: $45,438 ($23,265 or 33.8% lower than overall median)
As you can see from the chart above, there’s been an acceleration in the real median household income growth since 2016. Although, on a cautionary note, the chart does say data for 2017 and beyond reflect the implementation of an updated processing system. So perhaps the data is not entirely apples-to-apples.
Regardless of this change, it is still great to see all races show an increase in household income since the last U.S. income and poverty report in 2016. The acceleration in household income reflects how strong the U.S. economy really was before the pandemic hit.
I was also surprised to see the Asian median real median household income come close to $100,000. In the past, earning six-figures has meant that you were considered well-off.
I’ve shared my thoughts on why the median Asian income is so high. Know that roughly 56% of Asian Americans are foreign born, which means they immigrated to the United States. Immigrants to our country tend to have more resources due to the requirements necessary to immigrate. I’d love to hear different perspectives by race as well.
Inflationary Concerns Of The Past
The real median household income by race figures provide a hint as to why the Federal Reserve raised the Fed Funds rate in 2019 before changing course. Such a rapid increase in income puts inflationary pressure on the economy. A rapid increase in income is also a part of inflation.
With a higher income, you’re more willing to spend more money on food, clothing, cars, tuition, gas, homes, services, and so forth. When prices of necessities start jumping even faster than wage growth, this is when problems arise for the masses.
Today, with millions of people unemployed or underemployed, inflationary pressure is no longer a concern. Instead of inflationary pressure, we should be more concerned with deflationary pressure.
Deflationary pressure is why the Federal Reserve and the federal government have unleashed trillions of stimulus. Deflationary concerns are why the Fed stated it plans to be more patient about raising interest rates in the future.
The intended consequence of massive monetary expansion is lower interest rates. With lower rates, money tends to flow towards riskier assets like stocks and real estate in hopes of greater returns. However, eventually, the asset allocation shift will stop as valuations become too expensive and the risk:reward tradeoff becomes too great.
As a result, workers should consider accumulating more capital before retiring. While retirees should consider lowering their withdrawal rate and/or developing supplemental income if they want to maintain their retirement lifestyles.
The economy goes in cycles and this future cycle is one of the most uncertain cycles in history.
The Overall Household Income Is Fantastic
The overall household income of $68,703 is up about 30% since 2014. In other words, household income growth has been compounding at a 3% rate for the past five years. If inflation has averaged 2-2.5% a year during this time period, there has been real household income growth since 2014.
Depending on your household size and where you live, $68,703 can provide for a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. My wife and I can probably live fine off $68,703 a year if we had no children and rent a modest 1-bedroom apartment in San Francisco for $3,000 a month.
However, in order to raise one or two kids off $68,703, we would probably have to relocate to where we can rent or own a 3-bedroom home or larger for $2,000 – 3,000 a month.
If you’re a family of four living in Des Moines, Iowa where the median home price is roughly $160,000, you’re good to go earning a household income of $68,703.
The “spreading out of America” is real, which is why I’m an investor in the heartland for the next several decades.
At the same time, I also think there is a massive opportunity to invest in and relocate to big cities. There will inevitably be a snapback in demand, and I think it’s wise to get ahead of the curve.
Below is some more granular detail about median household income by region, type of household, nativity of householder, and MSA status.
Median Sales Price Of Houses
According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the median sales price of houses sold in Q22020 was $313,200. Therefore, the real median household would need to earn $104,440 to follow my 30/30/3 home buying rule.
Conversely, it appears the real median household may have violated my rule and spent 4.6X its household income to buy a median-priced home in America.
Given the housing market is strong partially due to a big decline in mortgage rates, we can guess that the median homebuyer is indeed violating my 30/30/3 home buying rule. This should come as no surprise given we’re trying to outperform the median and average American.
That said, after putting 20% down on the median $313,000 home, you’re left with a $250,000 mortgage that only costs $1,124 a month using a conservative 3.5% mortgage rate. $1,124 is only 19% of $5,725, the median monthly real household income, which means at least one home buying rule is being followed.
Even if the household only put 10% down with the same mortgage rate, the mortgage payment would only consist of 22% of its monthly household income.
The Cost Of Everything Else Is Affordable
Once you get your living costs out of the way, your other costs are much easier to manage.
If we want to save on food costs, we can eat less or cheaper food alternatives. If we want to lower our transportation costs, we can buy cheaper cars, take public transportation, ride a bike, carpool, or maybe work from home.
Clothing costs are de minimis. How much more do we really need besides underwear, socks, shoes, shirts, pants, and a jacket?
Electronics are dirt cheap compared to what we now get. Further, electronic devices last a long time. For example, I’m still typing on my MacBook Pro from 2015. I also still have my iPhone 7 from 2016. My hope is to keep these two devices for another three years.
Finally, the cost of education is cheap or free thanks to public schools and the internet. Only the rich or subsidized are comfortably able to attend private schooling now. You may even want to homeschool your children during a pandemic to minimize risk, among other benefits.
How Is Your Household Wage Growth Doing?
After not being in the workforce since 2012, it is a little strange discussing the real median household wage. I feel left out, especially since my healthcare costs and childcare costs are growing rapidly.
The real median household income by race needs to all go up given inflation.
However, thankfully, my investments have outperformed inflation and the real median household wage growth since 2012. Therefore, my passive retirement income has also outperformed.
My quest in the new decade is to build more supplemental retirement income to care for my family and buffer our finances from a likely decline.
I’m curious to know how your real median household wage has grown since the last income and poverty report came out in 2016. How has 2020 and the global pandemic affected your household income, if at all?
Are you pleased that the real median household income for all races is accelerating higher? Or, do you believe the income gap between races has grown too wide and needs solving?
The real median household income in 2021 may go down due to the global pandemic and the millions of jobs lost. But I’m confident there will be continue to be an upward trajectory in income levels for all races.
Ideas To Boost Income
Invest in real estate. Real estate is one of the best ways to generate passive income and boost the real median household income. Take a look at Fundrise, one of the largest real estate crowdsourcing companies today.
With Fundrise, you can easily gain exposure to a key asset class for long-term wealth. Historical dividends have been quite consistent and independent of stock market returns. Fundrise is free to sign up and explore.
Shop around for a mortgage. Check the latest mortgage rates online through Credible. They’ve got one of the largest networks of lenders that compete for your business.
Your goal should be to get as many written offers as possible. Then use the offers as leverage to get the lowest interest rate possible. When lenders compete, you win. Average mortgage rates are at record-lows.
Related: Your Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire By Race, Income, And Education
Chelsea Holmes says
I don’t think you could comfortably live on 68k with a 3k rental cost…68k is $5666 pre tax so call it 4363 post tax….healthcare if you have a cheap plan is prob 200 ( mine is 250 just me with work contributions so this is generous), call your phones 150, electric 100, water 80, WiFi 80, car insurance 120…that’s 3730 there, assuming no one needs prescriptions or to use the healthcare. You haven’t saved a dime or paid for food yet for 2 people and there’s 633 left.
Peter Berardi says
I still can’t wrap my brain around deflation. I’m sorry but inflation is higher and getting worse. Used and new cars are higher and the supply is ridiculously low. I’m remodeling a kitchen, all materials and supplies are higher due to the supply chain shortages. Food costs are higher than they’ve ever been in my life, tuition for college is higher yet the quality is lower, my taxes are going up. Sure, things like sox and gas are lower but my utilities are not!
We are using in my opinion an outdated inflation model that fails to measure the quality per dollar. Example, my dental cleaning bill was the same (no inflation) but they didn’t polish the teeth due to Covid regs….That’s inflation people. You’re looking at the CPI and saying we have little inflation but that’s nonsense. The only thing that’s truly cheap right now are interest rates which are driving housing and equity prices to absurd multiples. It cannot end well. The inflation spiral is there.
I bet if you adjust for geography, some of these differences will tighten. 50% of AA live in the South which are lower income states and a high percentage of Asians live on the west coast and northeast which are high income states. Other likely factors are career choices and 1v2 family income percentage.
The best advantage a child can have in America is two parents who stay together and work. I would be curious to see the percentages of two parent families overlaid on these statistics.
Not starting an argument, just want to focus on what works for kids.
Timothy Tu says
I wonder how much of this growth is attributed to dual income households as millenial generation now represent the primary economic group?
Sam Adams says
“REWARDING THOSE WHO WORK HARDER: Not all stereotypes are true. But the belief that the average Asian American student studies more than their counterparts of other races is correct. Or at the very least, that’s what students’ self-reported data reveal. According to a Brookings scholar, Asian American high school students spend about twice as much time studying as whites (almost 2 hours per day vs. almost one hour per day). As a group, they study more than three times as much as African Americans (who, on average, study a little more than a half hour per day). The amount of time Hispanics spend on studying is, on average, only slightly lower than that spent by whites.”
Seems like this would impact incomes.
But I thought Trump was awful…
Adjusting for inflation, my pay would have been close to flat for ten years or so if I took no action. My pay is determined by two things: how many years you’ve worked and how many advanced degrees you have. Given I maxxed out the number of years some time back, the only thing I could do was get another Master’s, which I did in 2018. I expect it will stay flat from now until retirement ( < 10 yrs).
The Social Capitalist says
This set of statistics certainly seems to bode well for our current president. I would note that income increases have come on the back of massive tax cuts and spending increases PRIOR to the pandemic. Has everyone forgotten years of Sequestration and not only its bite into the economy with fewer dollars but also much needed services such as Customs. Or these incredibly low interest rates that you, FS, complain about from time to time?
And is 2-2.5% a realistic inflation number? Housing and Health Insurance are simply more important than TVs, and even gasoline. The CPI is weighted in such a way to avoid what real folks pay for things by allowing substitution. But in reality most people have to live somewhere and a lot of us get sick.
Finally, medians, while likely better than averages, also tell only part of the story. Yes, if the report is accurate, 50% of folks have moved up, maybe even quite a bit but it doesn’t tell us about those in extreme poverty and how much the can also increase – outliers for sure, but ones that can easily be seen in some of our current social unrest.
Are we better off than 4 yrs. ago? as of 2019, economically, I’ll say yes (2020 is a different story altogether.) But the question isn’t whether we have more money only? Is the country more unified? Are there fewer economic anxieties? are there fewer threats to peace and prosperity?
Each person answers or avoids these questions for themselves (apologies for singular/plural).
Financial Samurai says
We can’t trust the government and their inflation statistics given we know that many costs are running higher than 2 1/2%.
Good point in asking are we better off than four years ago. I’m surprised Trump and other Republicans aren’t all over this real household income wage data and sharing it for everyone to see.
I didn’t even think about the real household median income levels from a political angle.
Economy Chief says
Sam this is excellent news indeed. Good for all races. I feel somewhat sad for our African-American community. They are at the bottom. However, and as you pointed out, this is a result of inflation. I am worry that in 2021 and beyond, if there is no correction in the economy or the stock market, we will be in for a surprise. Inflation is no joke. It can make us feel rich in the short-term but if prices of goods keep rising then we are back to square one in the long-term. But I am sure our economists at the WH like Peter Navarro and Larry Kudlow have a handle on this. The Federal Reserve needs to be cautious about keeping inflation under control. Jerome Powell, Chair of the Federal Reserve, is not even an economist but I am sure there are smart economist behind the scenes.
Saw this piece suggesting that the divide from the top to the rest is at an all time high as well though. Related topic and some numbers are comparable and many are not directly related… Let’s jump to conclusions. As Sam says – we gotta take care of our own retirement and net wealth because nobody is and a house is not always the right answer any more.
In 2016 I was making $55k and now $67k
Wife had just accepted a new job making $95k up from $75k in previous job.
She’s now at $108k with same job.
So looks like in 4 yrs our HH income went from $150k to $175k.
FWIW we are just outside of DC
A question I have is–is the increased median income proportionate to the increasing costs of the average American household? Meaning–can families pay for healthcare, college, and housing?
A few thousand dollars is great, but it’s chump change compared to how much wealthier the wealthier are getting don’t you think?
Important point for sure.
Financial Samurai says
The overall household income of $68,703 is up about 30% since 2014. In other words, household income growth has been compounding at a 3% rate for the past five years. If inflation has averaged 2-2.5% a year during this time period, as the government says, there has been real household income growth since 2014.
How you doing? Do you feel squeezed or richer since 2014?
Yeah, but when housing and healthcare far outpace inflation and job wage growth that’s still a major problem seeing as they are among the largest expenses for people and not ones you can go without.
We are doing great because of my wife’s pay, but if she was making same as me in this area we would be doing ok, as in ok working till age 70 probably.
Come to think of it, if we tried to live on my salary alone, just at the median household income, we couldn’t make ends meet.
Even if we took our only debt (car) outside of mortgage out of the equation, we still couldn’t.
Wow I’m glad to see the acceleration in household income growth since 2016. I didn’t expect to see that much of a rise and across all races for that matter.
On the topic of race and incomes I’m curious to see what happens in SF with Mayor Breed in office. She’s really trying to help the black community financially with new initiatives. For ex I recently read about a pilot program she’s launching to help pregnant black and pacific islanders with monthly stipends to help mother’s stay healthier and hopefully lower the rate of premature births.
Financial Samurai says
I’m impressed she is including Pacific Islanders. This is the first time I’ve ever heard Pacific Islanders be included for any type of subsidies. Hopefully there will be more help along the way and there will be a great father’s to support these pregnant mothers and their children.
The program is for only 150 women, Black and Pacific Islander. If Biden wins, Gavin Newsom will leave as CA Gov. Kamala Harris will no longer be CA Senator, and Lt. Gov Eleni Kounalakis (I’ve never heard of her, either, but her father is a influential donor) will move to Gov and select Senate position. A Black woman is pretty much required for Senate seat, someone with Executive experience in CA…hmm, who could it be?;-)
Also, Pacific Islanders are 0.5% of the U.S. pop, growing fast as a percentage. CA has the most Pacific Islanders of any state.
This program is an easy and cheap way for London Breed to become an ‘early adopter’ and gain support for her future career moves.
Financial Samurai says
All very smart and calculated moves for the next step up in power. Now, we just need a Pacific Island / Taiwanese / Mix person to head up San Francisco to ensure that my family never leaves. It’s pretty interesting how clearly every leader strives to take care of their own people, hence, why a rotation of power matters.
It is smart! Especially when you consider that ‘their own people’ is ‘political tribe’ by leveraging racial vulnerabilities. Here are a couple of other fun ones, to keep in your hip-pocket in the coming years…:-)
The Obamas have homes in Palm Springs, CA and Chicago, IL and Martha’s Vinyard, MA and Oahu, HI and…Washington, D.C. The first four each have safe (D) Senate seats, while D.C. is being trial-ballooned for statehood. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the Obamas could claim long-time residency when Michelle runs for Senate? She wouldn’t even have to run, but just the possibility will keep ‘donations to foundations’ flowing to the Obamas for decades to come.
The Obamas are a great example of what’s wrong in American politics. Having produced nothing of substance in his lifetime, Obama is now a multimillionaire as a result of simply having been a politician. How many of those that have paid him for speeches, contracts, etc. benefited directly from policies he made during his presidency? I suspect most if not all. Rather than accepting bribes upfront, he simply was simply paid off after leaving office.
TW Michigan says
Only reason Asian’s income level is high is due the fact that only professionals are allowed to enter in US. Majority of Asians are foreign born professionals. In every race – professionals such as engineers, pharmacists, physicians, scientists make significantly higher money than other people. % of professionals compared to general populations is highly skewed for Asians and therefore it is reflected in higher median income. Asians should not get carried away by looking at these higher median income and instead should compare their income levels against professionals from other races.
“Carried away”? Not everything is a competition, sport. With that sort of attitude, you’ll never be a real winner. Enjoy your consolation sticker.
The point is that only the very best and brightest from India get to come over here and most are advanced degree professionals
Financial Samurai says
You’re right in that roughly 57% of Asian Americans are foreign born.
Immigrants tend to be wealthier / have more resources.
This isn’t a competition to see which race earns the most. I’m happy that all races have shown an acceleration in earnings since the last census report.
I think there are definitely a lot of things we can do to help boost our income and wealth, regardless of race. This is a main reason why I continue to write since 2009, to help narrow the wealth gap in my community.
Here’s more perspective: https://www.financialsamurai.com/income-by-race-why-is-asian-income-so-high/
JB Seattle says
This is probably an oversimplification. The charts show household income, so that could be one or two people earning that income. If you look at the rates of divorce between different race groups, I think you’ll see a correlation between the two. Also if you grew up with Asian friends, you’d understand how their parents push their kids to perform in school and to get into higher paying careers. Its a stereotype, but from my experience growing up in a community with a lot of Korean Americans and having a lot of Korean American friends, its very true.
Carried away? We do compare it to other races and are at the top, thank you. Amazing what an education can do….
Talk for yourself. I don’t compare to other races. Are you trying to be sarcastic by saying “amazing what an education can do”. Do you mean other races are not well educated? If I recall correctly this is not the first time you are posting under this pseudonym and your posts are pompous and condescending. You are what you are but don’t talk for all Indians. May god bless you with inner peace.
This post got me thinking about mortgages and tax deductions. I know in the past you’ve written about why you lean towards 5-7 year ARMS and jumbo loans since they have lower rates. But what are your thoughts on making the size of your mortgage line up closer to the federal personal property tax deductions? When the federal deduction was capped for personal property some… 3 years ago(?). When I refinanced my house I paid off more of the principle to get a smaller loan so that I still cap out the federal deduction, but not go too far over it that the personal deduction felt kneecapped. I remember the first year my deductions were capped at a federal level and the ~18k I was previously writing off was slashed down to 10k or so of deductions the next year. The annoyance of that bothered me enough that something inside me felt it was better to just pay it down more.
Financial Samurai says
It’s a good move if you can afford it. I stopped worrying about the mortgage interest deduction a while ago, because it really starts fading out after a certain income level which is not very high. The AMT just gets you so I figure who cares.
Run a pro forma calculator based on your income and see if you get the full deduction or not.
I wish they would not lump all asian americans in the same category. If you parse it out by ethnicity such as Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Korean, etc. you will large disparities. The cultures are vastly different and so is the way each group found its way to the US and when.
Financial Samurai says
True, but something is better than nothing. Asians are often excluded from the minority racial discussions and analysis, perhaps because it doesn’t fit the publication’s narrative.
And I sometimes wonder how old Asian American might feel if he or she didn’t get into a top score and doesn’t make the top income.
It’s like living in one of the perpetually top ranked happiest countries in the world and not being happy every single day. Then what?
Not too surprised there and seems to align with minimal admission scores for colleges. I would speculate Asian household incomes are higher based on more selective careers and still maintaining family values, something the black community need to learn. Did you know a small Percentage of the black male community commit majority of all crime.
Or perhaps there are real institutional barriers to black wage growth and lack of equal opportunities? Generalizations about cultures like this comment only show the ignorance of the commenter.
Big Sarge says
Why do people want to make it look like all white people are born w/a silver spoon? I am white and do not come from money, far from it. I joined the Army at 19, was not the best student in high school. I spent close to 28 years in the Army and attained the highest enlisted rank you can along with my Bachelors degree. I never made over 70K a year. I have a net worth of over 1.5 million through 4 rentals and my primary home, a cash Hoard I keep ready to deploy for any opportunities to flip homes. I built it all on a single income. I married at 45. I have owned a total 9 homes since 1999. I only recently started a Roth in the last few months. I get so tired of hearing or reading about how black people have no opportunities. I have good black friends i was in the military with who did the same thing I did with real estate and probably have a higher net worth than I. They will tell you the same thing I am. There are poor white, Asian, black and Hispanics all over the USA. My point? It’s out there for you to achieve! It takes work, desire, dedication and time to achieve. There is nothing holding you back but yourself. Oh by the way I built my portfolio also while stationed in the USA or deployed all over the world in combat zones too! Stop with the poor race card. No sympathy from me! It’s out there for all to achieve. Stop the whining! Suck it up and go get it! Oh and when I retired 5 years ago, I fully retired. Go play your violin somewhere else. Yep
Financial Samurai says
“ Why do people want to make it look like all white people are born w/a silver spoon?”
Can you share some examples of this? I certainly don’t think I gave this impression in my article.
I’m all for everyone hustling in “pull in themselves up by their bootstraps.” However, as a nation, we need to recognize that the playing field is not even. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to work hard and go get it. It just means we should be aware.
Big Sarge says
My response was geared to the person “V” who I responded to, not your article. It happens to all.
Some examples. I was looking for a property manager one time before I was about to deploy to Iraq for a year. I went to an appointment at their office wearing my Army fatigues. I told the receptionist I had an appointment and she looks at me and hands me a listing of their available rentals of just apartments, not houses. After telling her I had an appointment with the property manager to discuss managing my 5 houses she looked at me like I was smoking crack and laughed like I was joking. About that time the property manager walks out, sees my last name on my uniform and greets me and says I looked up your properties you gave me and said “Your portfolio of houses looks fantastic” the receptionists face was priceless.
Like you I practice
“Stealth Wealth” and am a car fanatic too. I went to look at a
new Corvette. I was in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops.When the salesman came out (A black man) and started his song and dance and asked me what I did for a living. I told him Military, he said we have some used ones that would be more in line for your pocket book. I should have left, but said to myself this will be fun and a life learning point for the salesman. So I played along with him and wasted his time test driving 4 different used Corvettes. After we drove the 4th he said which one do you like the best I said I was not sure and it was between the 2nd and 3rd one. I said can I drive those two again. After that was done I said the 2nd one. He gets me in there we start negotiating. Come to an agreed price, gets me to the finance guy asks how much I’m putting down, I said 30K. I let them run my credit and it’s 825. All of a sudden they want to offer me the new one. I just laughed and said no thanks and hope you learned a valuable lesson today and left. The new car sales manager kept calling me for a week trying to get me back and never apologizing for the actions of the salesman actions. Priceless fun and entertainment for me and a learning lesson for the salesman.
I do agree parts of wealth comes from luck and timing. But like anything if you put in the time, research and dedication good things can happen for all. Pro athletes just don’t wake up one day never playing the sport and decide I’m going to play in the English Premiere League for Liverpool. Athletes have put years of work in. Just like all who achieve financial independence that were not born into it.
So any race can be profiled, it’s not just racial profiling out there. There is definitely job and income profiling too. All profiling is wrong be it racial or income.
We’ve all had it happen.
Until sometime after his death, strangers would approach me several times a week just to tell me I looked like Christopher Reeve (or Clark Kent or Superman) and whenever I’ve gone in someplace wearing a suit and tie it’s always been “yes sir” and “no sir,” even at gas stations and such.
If I go in someplace wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals, not so much.
Big Sarge says
I am sure you have been mistaken to be him.
It’s out there for all able bodied and minded people to achieve. It just takes desire, motivation and time to grow your “Financial nut” so to speak. I am not heartless or greedy and donate a lot of my time and finances to organizations and to those less fortunate I support.
I don’t look at white people as having been born with a silver spoon in their mouth. I see too much trailer trash, especially in the south. They think that without any education or trade, they should be earning as much as a doctor or engineer.
Your comment about the black community leads me to believe you haven’t spent much or any time learning about their struggle. And I say this as an Asian man.
It’s not my job to educate you. Use Google, watch documentaries/movies on Netflix.
“It’s not my job to educate you”.
As if anything you’d say would qualify was educating.
Make and arguement, or go cry on another comment section.
What the hell does the black community and crime have to do with this discussion. Also, yes we Asians, (Indians), earn a hell of a lot, mostly because we don’t have little minds like yours.
Liz Venus says
As of 9/15/2020, I’m officially debt free. Paid off my $400k mortgage in 7.19 years yay!!! The pandemic has actually helped me because I’m spending 0 on clothes/makeup/shoes/gas since I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home. Now that I know I only need food and internet to survive, I am even more motivated to save more so I can retire whenever.
Financial Samurai says
Congrats! And right on!
In 10 years time when someone asks you or one of your greatest accomplishment was during the pandemic, you can say this.
Let’s not waste our time With so many things are shut down.
Jeff VA says
I’m Asian. Census reports, or studies that look at disparities between ethnicity makes me feel very ambivalent.
1. In a lot of articles or studies concerning ethnicity, Asians are frequently omitted. The reports/articles cites the difference between Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics, but Asians are not included because we only make up a small portion of the US’ population. So it always seems like Asians are not talked about which indirectly makes me feel excluded. So when I see the word “Asian” in reports / studies, my eyes light up in anticipation.
2. Income disparity is an issue, but stats like these are frequently used to form baseless arguments. It also becomes highly political and when that happens — those that are at the “top” are again ignored. For example, there isn’t a single policy that I could think of that specifically benefits Asian-Americans (it’s almost the exact opposite). Like Yale who deducts points when evaluating Asian-American candidates solely based on their race. This policy is obviously terrible because there are plenty of Asians that do NOT do well academically (or test well). I was one of them. Lol.
3. I think the reason why there’s a big disparity in median income between Asians, Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks has nothing to do with ethnicity, but everything to do with the environment. Regardless of your race, if you were born into poverty, the chances of you increasing that median income will be very low. Conversely, if you were born into a well-off family, you have a much higher chance of “succeeding” in life and making big bucks. So although the Census report provide good insight by breaking down median income by ethnicity, I think it should be paired with geographical and occupation data. If for example, there is a huge disparity in median income between ethnicity who are in the SAME city while having the SAME occupation — you can clearly mark it as an item that needs close scrutiny. Then again, the scope and purpose of the Census report is to just present and visualize data so I guess I’m barking at the wrong tree.
OK, I know I was being slightly off-topic, but I wanted to share my POV on how one AA feels and thinks when I read these types of reports.
Financial Samurai says
Yes, I’m glad Asians are included and racial studies and so forth.
If omitted based on income and wealth, then it is just trying to fit a narrative. And that’s frustrating.
And of course, we can break down Asians even more, since there are so many types.
I’m curious to know why are you didn’t do well academically? What did your parents think and say?
Jeff VA says
I didn’t develop good studying habits. In elementary school and middle school, I seldom studied for exams, but always ended up getting 80+ so my GPA was always above 3.0. This gave me the illusion that I could wing it through high school, but I struggled a lot in grades 10th-11th. I still ended up going to a decent college and received several job offers after graduating, so I guess I can chalk it off as a good, inexpensive, learning experience.
My parents didn’t say much about my grades. They had minimum expectations: get into college, graduate, get a good job, and enjoy life. They were simply too busy to worry about my grades because they worked around 12-18 per day, including Saturdays.
Financial Samurai says
Thanks for the color. So, as an Asian person, you didn’t feel this peer pressure from the media or from peers to do excellent in school? I didn’t feel pressure to do well b/c I was Asian. I just wanted to give myself a chance at getting into a good college to get a good job because my time working at McDonald’s sucked!
But I am grateful for working crappy jobs as a kid to better appreciate the jobs I got later on.
Regarding your parents, do you think if your parents worked only 4-6 hours a day and spent more time with you and maybe even homeschooling, you would have been a better student and got into a better college?
I’m trying to understand how much time my wife and I should spend education our children. Thanks!
Cause and effect, Sam.
Pubic school is fine if you can stay involved. The important thing is to keep them curious and eager to learn. Most schools have a way of trying to take that away from kids and making learning into a not-fun thing to do, both boring and stressful at the same time. Truly, even the word “schoolwork” draws a pretty common reaction from most older kids. A big part of this is they quite often let the more capable students get bored.
Most teachers can’t or won’t try to deal with that. I only had one teacher in high school that did. When he realized I had already read the entire history book on my own and could and would ace every test, he just gave me a library pass at the start of each class. He was apologetic about it, he just had too many football players in the class to do much else for me. I didn’t mind. I learned a lot about astronomy that quarter, as well as getting an A in U.S. history.
Don’t forget to teach them HOW to study. The schools don’t teach that at all, and some folks never learn until they can no longer coast and it is too late. There are some excellent guides available on how to study and get good grades. But you can’t just buy one and toss it to the kid. It’s going to take a lot more than that in most cases.
Set expectations with the teachers early and often. I had mediocre grades in a very large high school, then got the highest SATs of anyone there. My grades shot up because the teachers expectations changed. (But I still hadn’t really learned how to study.)
Also, get them involved in something organized that has a lot of adult interaction as well. Band is ideal. Scouts is good, too, providing you also become an assistant scoutmaster, or frequent volunteer, and are actively involved.
Another thing is to drive home again and again, as realistically as possible, the difference between someone working a dead-end job and someone who did well. Not only does the person with a better job have more toys to play with, they have more time to play with them. More vacation days and paid holidays. No second jobs needed to make ends meet. More flexible work hours. More interesting work. Career progression. The list goes on and on.
After nearly flunking out my freshman year of college, I changed majors and schools and started working 30 to 40 hours a week at a K-Mart store. I was with good people. Salt of the earth kind of people. But I was in a place I wanted to leave and never come back to except, maybe, to shop. (My work clothes, complete with clip-on tie, reeked of rancid popcorn that no amount of washing could ever remove.) I figured out how to study and made Dean’s List all three semesters I was there.
These kind of things, along with making yourself into someone they do not want to disappoint (and not because they fear punishment), might just do the trick.
1) Keep them curious
2) Teach them HOW to study (and how to please instructors and take tests, and do research and writing assignments while you are at it)
3) Get involved with the teachers and set expectations all around
4) Get the kids involved in something organized with a lot of adult interaction
5) Don’t just tell them, show them (and if possible make them experience) what life might be like if they don’t do well
6) Ensure they want your approval for their efforts (because they respect you, not because they fear punishment)
Ironically, after getting my masters, I joined the faculty of a large university where, among other things, I found myself interviewing high school students for scholarships, and counseling college students that were not doing well. You learn a lot about what students do that makes them successful . . . or not.
My kids did a lot better in high school than I did, even though, so far as I could tell, the schools had not changed much.
Financial Samurai says
Sounds good and thanks for the advice!
My wife and I want to give homeschool a try first and then evolve as necessary.
Jeff VA says
If they were more involved, yes, I think I would have ended up being a better student which would’ve increased my chances of getting into a better college. But I also think I developed a more resilient attitude because I had to look out for myself without relying or leaning on someone else (some would say that this is coping strategy when kids feel abandoned, which I think is also accurate).