Disaggregating Asian-American educational attainment

June 25, 2013 at 1:06 am 32 comments

Computer science is mostly white or Asian and male.  We have lots of data to support that.  What I didn’t realize was how sub-groups within Asian-American differ markedly in their educational attainment.  A new report from NYU and ETS disaggregates the data, and below is the startling graphic that Rick Adrion pointed me to.


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  • 1. LKT  |  June 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Really? For the left-hand side 40%-0% is the same size as the right-hand side from 0%-80%?
    37.9% “less than high school diploma” is not the same as 79.1% College or more, but yet the sizes of the bars indicates that is.

    40%=80% According to this report.

    • 2. BCN  |  February 16, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      The scaling for the left and right hand sides are different, which is why the 40% and 80% bar look the same.

      • 3. DDD  |  February 16, 2014 at 10:27 pm

        That’s exactly what LKT was pointing out. “Look the same” triggers the same initial response as representing the same amount and that’s exactly what the producer of this graph is trying to attain: a stronger response.

        The data is just as valid, but the particular sizing of the graph is unnecessary.

        • 4. Glenn B.  |  February 18, 2014 at 3:00 pm

          There’s also an undistributed middle, presumably of those with just a high school diploma, or a diploma plus some college (but no bachelor’s). Consequently, the sum of the two margins doesn’t add up to 100% for any of them.

          • 5. Glenn B.  |  February 18, 2014 at 3:02 pm

            And frankly, I have no issue with that. It just makes this a subset of the data. But there’s definitely a potential for the visual to be misleading, and I would’ve appreciated those points (as well as any rationale for them) called out above.

    • 6. BCE  |  February 18, 2014 at 5:15 am

      If anything the scaling provides an unbiased viewing angle for the data. Generally speaking in statistics, white space on a visual is unnecessary because you’re looking for the relationships between the data rather than trying to look at the data’s relationship from 0-100.

      The bars do not indicate that 37.9% is the same as 79.1%. Nor are they trying to by being deceitful. The bars are trying to indicate that 37.9% is 7.89 times 4.8%, while on the other side 74.1% is 5.97 times 12.4%.

  • 7. dnldreams  |  February 16, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Reblogged this on Renee Ya and commented:
    As a Hmong woman, this information is not astonishing to me.

    Though I did complete my BS degree and have worked on a Masters of Science, I realize that my breed is quite rare.

    • 8. Ky  |  February 17, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Wow, as a Hmong man, I feel sorry for you. Anyone, who has a BA/BS or above would know that this graph leaves you with more questions rather than answers. Or, the reasoning behind why certain groups fair less compared to different groups. For example, why are the top 4 from SE Asia? Maybe, it’s because of the fact the immigrant groups arriving to America from war-torn countries tend to not do so well in education (1st generation). Or maybe, if a 2yr degree was considered the graph would look completely different.

      • 9. Taylor  |  February 17, 2014 at 10:14 pm

        Your condescending tone is tactless. You seem to want to encourage more meaningful thought but your tone actually discourages it.

      • 10. G-bus Dice  |  February 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm

        PTSD hits deep. Notice how Thailand is similar to the rest.

      • 11. SrMejia  |  February 18, 2014 at 1:45 am

        Dude. Calm down and dont get defensive, she’s just using an anecdote to relate to the DATA.

      • 12. dnldreams  |  February 18, 2014 at 9:01 pm

        Correct, Ky, it was anecdotal. The point that I was briefly getting to was that there are not many in the 1st generation of Hmong immigrants.

        With more exposure to higher education, better programs to help in college prep, and more scholarship programs to help the Hmong, the more the Hmong can continue to grow and foster in the US.

        Not sure why you were coming off as attacking, but your point was made. Also, I didn’t just simply go off of the one graph. I read the report that they linked to above which digs deeper by noting more figures such as “Characteristics of High Schools […]” table 4 which breaks down college prep test scores by cities.

  • 13. Disaggregating Asian-American educational attainment | Renee Ya  |  February 16, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    […] Read More… […]

  • […] [via computinged] […]

    • 15. Quyen  |  February 17, 2014 at 7:49 pm

      Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese arrived in this country as war refugees. The rest of the list arrived in USA as opportunity-seeking-immigrants selected from well-to-do, well-educated class. They are not the same yet.

      • 16. Matt  |  February 19, 2014 at 5:19 am

        Quyen, your statement is wrong. Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani and Indian people just to name a few other Asian people all have immigration to the US as refugee status or as a direct result of civil war. Do some homework before making blanket statements about others.

        • 17. Quyen  |  February 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm

          No, Matt. There is no comparision. The Vietnam war was a declared war by US Congress. It lasted more than 10 years and more than 1 Million Americans directly involved in it and no less than 55,000 of them sacrified their lives plus hundreds thousand of others wounded.
          The result of this war was more than 1.5 millions of Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian and Hmong who fought the war as US Allies were accepted into the United States since 1975. There hasn’t been such acceptance of refugees or immigrants from Asian countries since the founding of this country. These refugees arrived here under completed different circumtances, a lot of them risked their lives with prison or storms, pirates, hungers on rafts or tiny fishing boats for weeks and months on Pacific Ocean. You should read more about the Vietnam war and its consequences. This is part of US history that just occured.

        • 18. sophorn  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:26 pm

          good comments

          • 19. Quyen  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:59 pm

            Read my reply #17 on 02/19/2014.
            The end of Vietnam war was April 1975, almost 39 years ago. It’s not too long gone, but if you didn’t pay attention you would never knew it anyway.

  • 20. Edward Kwong (@edwadokun)  |  February 17, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Can we get some net figures as well? Just a percentage doesn’t tell much.

  • 22. SD  |  February 17, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    The above chart shouldn’t be posted, it is misleading. Here’s a link to quick resizing of the left side of the chart.

    • 23. BCE  |  February 18, 2014 at 5:19 am

      The above graph is not misleading. The sides are not supposed to be compared to one another, rather the subgroups performance should be compared against each other in each category.

      Generally speaking in statistics, white space on a visual is unnecessary because you’re looking for the relationships between the data rather than trying to look at the data’s relationship from 0-100.

      The bars do not indicate that 37.9% is the same as 79.1%. Nor are they trying to by being deceitful. The bars are trying to indicate that 37.9% is 7.89 times 4.8%, while on the other side 74.1% is 5.97 times 12.4%.

  • 24. Quyen  |  February 17, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    The white portion between the blue row and the pink row is the critical element of this table. It symbolized the people who have high school diploma but not graduated from college. They are the people that schools like NYU which produced this research wants to target to recruit. Besides, this table doesn’t tell you anything.

  • 25. Chris M  |  February 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese make up 85% of the Asian American population. In addition to what SD said, it would have been helpful to have had that statistic or something similar in the graph.

  • 26. wasteoftime  |  February 17, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    So if you’re from an Asian country ravaged by war and now steeped in poverty,..

    …a white guy from the richest country in the world might outscore you scholastically.

  • 27. McHale  |  February 18, 2014 at 4:05 am

    I would like to know how this study was conducted. How do we keep track of ,particularly Asians, and what ethnicity they are? I dont recall graduating with a B.S. and having to declare what ethnicity I was to help these statistics.. therefore, how can they accurately account these statistics?

  • 28. Txiabneeb  |  February 18, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I believe these stats are based on only the 300,000 plus Hmong in the US. I will not settle for less nor excusing myself and the Hmong
    s, but having just came down from the mountain of Laos within the last 40-50 years I believe we have come a long way compare to the millions of our other Asian relatives. So, yes, eventhough these stats do not capture that stretch the gap does capture the actual number-reality of what is lacking.

  • 29. gersondxv  |  February 20, 2014 at 2:49 am

    Here is an updated version (using 2010-2012 ACS):

    To go directly to the source table…

  • 31. Pensamientos y Acciones Reales | Aprendí Algo Hoy  |  April 2, 2014 at 8:41 am

    […] of society’s definition of what “Asian” means, who recognizes the unjust social construction of the term “Asian”, who recognizes the injustices that have been done unto this […]

  • […] The Wired article linked below suggests that race is an even bigger issue than gender in Tech industry leadership.  While Asians are over-represented in the Tech labor force, they are under-represented in Tech leadership, even more than women.  I was somewhat surprised that this article considers “Asians” so generally.  The most-often visited blog post I’ve written is the one that shows the differential success rates of different Asian populations in US educational attainment (see post here). […]


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