Census data mask poverty suffered by some Asian American groups - latimes.com: Sixteen-year-old Mary Sem worries about her family. She has overheard her mother crying over memories of loved ones she lost to the Khmer Rouge. Her father and older sisters struggle to cover rent and the perpetual bills.
Her college dreams are hitched to helping them. If Mary got a degree and a good job, "my family would be able to pay the bills on time," the teen said one day after school in Long Beach. "They wouldn't need to worry about anything."
The Sems, who trace their roots to Cambodia, have little in common with the stereotype of Asian Americans as a "model minority" that is faring well economically. Poverty is less common, on average, among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders than the Los Angeles County average, data from the U.S. Census Bureau show. But those overall statistics mask deep financial woes among some Asian Americans, a report released Wednesday shows.