Asians in America: Convergence to Non-Hispanic Whites, or a New Trajectory for Assimilation Theory?

Apoorva Jadhav, University of Michigan
Devesh Kapur, University of Pennsylvania
Sanjoy Chakravorty, Temple University

We analyze what assimilation means for first and second generation Asians, given that they are unlike other migrants who enter the United States at lower income and educational levels than Non-Hispanic Whites (NHW). We use the American Community Survey (2012 5-year pooled sample) to explore- how 1) foreign-born and US-born Asians compare to NHW, and 2) inter-generational differences within Asian groups- using two areas: status attainment (education, income, occupation) and family composition (marital status, multi-generational households, labor force participation). Is there, as we see in other immigrant communities, a “convergence” or regression to the mean, or is it still distinctive across generations? We find that income advantage transfers, with second generation more educated and in diverse employment sectors than foreign-born co-ethnics. Additionally, there is evidence of segmented assimilation within the Indian diaspora. We offer explanations and rethink assimilation for immigrants and immigrant generations with sustained high human capital.

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Presented in Session 225: Socioeconomic Status of New Immigrants to the United States