The Moderating Role of Factors of Assimilation in First- and Second-Generation Asian Americans' Socioeconomic Attainment
Simburger, Dylan A.
MetadataShow full item record
Contemporary assimilation theory has focused on immigrant groups reaching socioeconomic parity with whites as an indication that immigrants are integrating into the U.S. mainstream. In the case of Asian Americans, assimilation scholars contend that socioeconomic parity has been reached or is close to being reached, depending on the sub-group in question. However, this claim coupled with the model minority image of Asian Americans as educated, hard-working, and well-adjusted to the U.S. mainstream discounts several negative factors of Asian assimilation trajectories that prevent Asian Americans from reaching parity with whites on several important indicators. Using the Kinder Houston Area Survey (KHAS), I examine how perceptions of discrimination and community relations, and how civic participation, English language acquisition, and ethnic identity affect first- and second-generation Asian Americans’ socioeconomic attainment. Results indicate that second generation Asian Americans’ socioeconomic attainment depends on their experiences in their communities. Specifically, second-generation Asian Americans who express positive perceptions of ethnic relations in the Houston area are associated with increases in their income, and second-generation Asian Americans that hold negative perceptions of ethnic relations are associated with decreases in their income. These findings highlight divergent paths to assimilation in a racial/ethnic population that is overwhelmingly thought to assimilate upwardly through subsequent generations.