Asian Americans seem to offer proof that minorities can prosper — and even leapfrog whites — if they work hard and jump through the right hoops. For that reason, Asian Americans have often been invoked as a way to excuse the income gaps between whites and blacks or whites and Hispanics.
But why do typical Asian American households outearn typical white households? Like many statistics showing an Asian American advantage, this fact proves illusory upon closer examination. A common explanation is that Asian Americans are better educated. While that’s true, there’s another factor that can completely account for the income gap between Asians and whites.