Why are Asians harder hit by Recessions?

US_real_median_household_income_1967_-_2011

So I was just looking up some demographic data on Wikipedia and ran across this graph. Two interesting things:

  1. During the recessions, all of the groups suffer in roughly similar amounts, except Asians, who tend to get really hammered. I don’t think it’s a side-effect of just having the biggest quantity of money, as whites and blacks, who make very different amounts of money, still tend to fall by the same amount. I would assume this is a result of Asians being more heavily leveraged, with risky investments, except that this is a graph of income rather than net worth. Maybe they are disproportionately employed in highly leveraged professions?
  2. The 1990 recession looks like it went on particularly long for Hispanics, whose net worth kept hurting after everyone else’s had started recovering–around 1995, the Hispanic nadir, their net worth was nearly as low as African Americans’. What was up? Economic problems related to the Mexican Peso? Refugees from the Guatemalan Civil War? NAFTA?

Thoughts?

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7 thoughts on “Why are Asians harder hit by Recessions?

  1. My 2cents: Many asians are immigrants who tend to get incomes from small businesses that require little capital, many of which sell products that can be cut back on during recessions (restaurants, nail salons, hair salons, fruit markets). Whites tend to be in more established and/or professional positions. Blacks/hispanics tend to fill government jobs which are insensitive to recession (they can’t be fired dues to unions). Undocumented hispanics don’t fall into this category, but aren’t counted in this graph.

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  2. Asian is an awfully big umbrella. South Asians disproportionately tend to be small business owners and franchisees. East Asians tend to be corporate drones. They don’t really share that many characteristics… except bipedalism and being from Asia.

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