The Pew study also revealed wide variations among Asian subgroups in poverty, employment and education, which sometimes belied their typecast as a “model minority.” For instance:
—Poverty: As a whole, Asian-Americans had a poverty rate in 2010 of 11.9 percent, lower than the 12.8 percent for the general U.S. population. By country of origin, however, Koreans, Vietnamese and Chinese were more likely than the average American to live in poverty, at rates of 14 percent or more.
—Education: The share of Asian-Americans who hold at least a bachelor’s degree surpasses the national average, 49 percent to 28 percent. Vietnamese, however, fell below the national average at 26 percent. People from India were most likely to have a college degree, at 70 percent.
—Unemployment: Asian-Americans ages 25 and older were somewhat less likely to be unemployed than the national average for the first quarter of 2012 — 6 percent compared to 7.4 percent for all U.S. workers. But in terms of long-term unemployment, Asian-Americans fared much worse, with median duration of unemployment at 28 weeks, second only to African-Americans (31 weeks). The national average was 22 weeks.
—Illegal immigration: While immigrants from Asia often obtain visas and arrive legally, many also sneak across the U.S. border or become undocumented residents after overstaying their visas. Up to 15 percent of Asian immigrants in the U.S. are here illegally, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic immigrants.
The Pew survey is based on an analysis of census data as well as interviews with 3,511 Asian adults living in the U.S., conducted by cell phone or landline from Jan. 3 to March 27. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points for all respondents, higher for subgroups.