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83% Growth of Asian-Headed Households Hides Significant Inequality

SEATTLE, May 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The number of Asian-headed households grew by 83% in the past two decades, far exceeding Latinx, Black, and white household growth. But that broad success masks major challenges to homeownership in the highly diverse community. New Zillow research reveals the reality the Asian-American population -- the smallest but fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the U.S. -- faces regarding homeownership and income inequality. Asian-Americans continue to grapple with a difficult immigration environment, unequal access to opportunity and disparate educational backgrounds, the same barriers to housing that many other racial and ethnic groups face in the country.

Asian-American homeownership rate rose six percentage points from 2000 to 2019 to 59%, outperforming the near-flat or falling rates of other racial and ethnic groups and narrowing the gap with the 71% white homeownership rate. At the same time, median household income of Asian-Americans is the highest across all racial or ethnic groups in the U.S., and Asian-owned home values are 3.7% higher than typical home values.

"Asian households are often upheld as an economic success story — high incomes, homeownership rates, and other positive metrics point to a relatively prosperous demographic. But this highly diverse group also has the highest level of income inequality, and housing characteristics across Asian ethnicities differ greatly," says Zillow economist Alexandra Lee. "As this population continues to grow — faster than any other racial or ethnic group — it will be crucial to recognize the disparities within the AAPI community to understand the opportunities and missed opportunities they are experiencing in the housing market."

The concentration of Asian households in more expensive coastal metros, such as New York, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles, skew the median incomes and Asian-owned home values higher than the national average. However, Asian households are starting to shift away from these high-cost urban centers to more affordable metros, which may in turn boost homeownership rates and lower cost burdens, a trend likely to accelerate with the Great Reshuffling.

While most signs point toward prosperity, income inequality is rising most rapidly among Asian-Americans, and the income distribution among Asian households is currently the most unequal in the country. For example, in nearly half of the top 50 metro areas in the U.S., the typical Asian household income and Asian household poverty rates are higher than the metro median -- a juxtaposing truth illustrating the reality of the diverse economic standing.

Incomes and homeownership rates among Asian households vary greatly by ethnic regions. East and Southeast Asians have the highest homeownership rates of more than 60%, and median household incomes approaching $80,000, compared to the national median of $62,187. However, Pacific Islander homeownership rates are more in line with Black and Latinx rates, sitting at around 43% with a median household income of $65,000.

South Asians (including Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Nepalese and Sri Lankans) have by far the highest incomes of any other regional group of over $110,000. However, despite high-income levels, South Asians have relatively low homeownership rates of 55%.

When ethnic regions are broken down even further, sharper disparities exist. Taiwanese have the highest homeownership rate at 69%, followed closely by Vietnamese (66%) and Japanese (65%). Most of those are East Asian groups, but other East Asian groups have the lowest homeownership rates -- just 30% of Mongolian-Americans own their homes.

The diverse motivations for immigration among the Asian community may help explain the wide-ranging economic situations. A vast majority of Asian-headed households are foreign-born (81%), and many Asian ethnicities are more likely to be moving to the U.S. for employment opportunities, about 21% compared to 14% of immigrants overall. On the other hand, a smaller share of Asian immigrants are refugees, potentially translating to relatively higher levels of poverty and lower incomes once in the U.S.

Asian Identity

Ethnic Region

Homeownership Rate

Median Income

Taiwanese

East Asian

69.2%

$100,149

Vietnamese

Southeast Asian

66.9%

$68,290

Japanese

East Asian

65.9%

$81,406

Chinese

East Asian

63.0%

$80,000

Filipino

Southeast Asian

62.2%

$94,961

Laotian

Southeast Asian

61.0%

$61,268

Thai

Southeast Asian

58.7%

$65,000

Fijian

Pacific Islander

56.4%

$82,511

Indonesian

Southeast Asian

55.2%

$78,180

Cambodian

Southeast Asian

55.0%

$65,288

Pakistani

South Asian

53.3%

$78,000

Hawaiian

Pacific Islander

51.7%

$66,153

Sri Lankan

South Asian

51.6%

$85,000

Hmong

Southeast Asian

51.1%

$66,003

Korean

East Asian

50.7%

$71,220

Guamanian/Chamorro

South Asian

44.2%

$75,537

Bangladeshi

Pacific Islander

44.2%

$58,018

Malaysian

Southeast Asian

44.1%

$76,077

Tongan

Pacific Islander

43.2%

$63,188

Burmese

Southeast Asian

42.3%

$43,160

Bhutanese

South Asian

36.5%

$51,945

Samoan

Pacific Islander

31.4%

$63,922

Nepalese

South Asian

31.1%

$54,638

Mongolian

East Asian

30.9%

$46,639

Methodology
This analysis relies on 2019 5-year sample American Community Survey data and the 2000 Census 5-percent sample, sourced from IPUMS. Data for whites, Blacks and Asians include single-race, non-Latinx respondents. Asians include Asian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander respondents. Household race/ethnicity is defined by race/ethnicity of the householder. Breakdowns by AAPI region include the following detailed race categories:

  • East Asian: Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Chinese and Japanese, Chinese and Korean
  • Southeast Asian: Filipino, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Burmese, Indonesian, Malaysian
  • South Asian: Asian Indian, Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Nepalese
  • Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: Hawaiian, Native Hawaiian or PI other race(s), Samoan, Tongan, Guamanian/Chamorro, Fijian, Pacific Islander, n.s.

About Zillow Group
Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z and ZG) is reimagining real estate to make it easier to unlock life's next chapter.

As the most-visited real estate website in the U.S., Zillow® and its affiliates offer customers an on-demand experience for selling, buying, renting or financing with transparency and nearly seamless end-to-end service. Zillow Offers® buys and sells homes directly in dozens of markets across the country, allowing sellers control over their timeline. Zillow Home Loans™, our affiliate lender, provides our customers with an easy option to get pre-approved and secure financing for their next home purchase. Zillow recently launched Zillow Homes, Inc., a licensed brokerage entity, to streamline Zillow Offers transactions.

Zillow Group's affiliates and subsidiaries include Zillow®, Zillow Offers®, Zillow Premier Agent®, Zillow Home Loans™, Zillow Closing Services™, Zillow Homes, Inc., Trulia®, Out East®, StreetEasy® and HotPads®. Zillow Home Loans, LLC is an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #10287 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).

 

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