Asian Population in New York
From The World Journal
June 22, 2004
The Asian senior population in New York is on the rise. Many of
them live in poverty and are suffering from cultural barriers,
depression and anxiety.
Unfortunately, City Hall has continued to
cut back on the Department for the Aging budget, forcing senior
citizen homes that accommodate
large numbers of Asian senior citizens to face crisis in their
operation and survival.
Some directors at those senior citizen homes
attribute the problem to the fact that Asians are a minority in
On June 21, the City Council Committee for the Aging held a meeting
to discuss strategies to counter problems brought by the growing
number of Asian and Hispanic senior citizens in the city.
to the 2000 New York City Census, the number of Asian senior citizens
grew by 86 percent between 1990 and 2000, and the
number continues to grow.
Meanwhile, statistics from the Department
of the Aging shows that 24.4 percent of Asian senior citizens in
New York City live in
poverty, surpassing that of African Americans, which is at 23.3
percent. Overall, 18 percent of the senior citizens in New York
City live in poverty.
Another survey, conducted by the Asian American
Alliance, showed that Asian senior citizens are almost all immigrants
and less than
one-fourth of them consider their English less than sufficient.
top of that, the budget cut in City Hall is not helping.
Wu, Director of the senior citizen center of the Chinese American
Planning Council, said the number of senior citizens has
grown sharply while City Hall has continued to cut its budgets.
In addition, the employees at the senior center have not gotten
a raise in five years.
“We, the senior citizen home directors, are the most miserable
bunch because we are stuck in the middle and feel so helpless,” she
Wu added that they have participated in numerous protests
and public hearings but have yet to receive any positive response
Hall. “Traditionally, the Asian community has no interests
in politics,” she said. “That’s why we have no
voice, no power and no money.”
Most Asian senior citizens
live by themselves or with their spouses, Wu added. They made
low wages when they were young, resulting in
low pensions in their old age. Among other things, the most difficult
part for them is housing. Those who are lucky enough to win the
draw to move into government-subsidized apartments are few, so
most senior citizens living in private apartments spend most
of their pension and welfare checks on rent.
Wu called on Chinese
Americans who successfully broke into mainstream society to lend
a helping hand to senior citizen centers and
help them get through their financial crisis.
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Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung.