Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pew Research Center-"The Rise of Asian Americans"

Today the Pew Research Center released a new study of Asian immigration.
"Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States. They are more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place more value than other Americans do on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success, according to a comprehensive new nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center.
A century ago, most Asian Americans were low-skilled, low-wage laborers crowded into ethnic enclaves and targets of official discrimination. Today they are the most likely of any major racial or ethnic group in America to live in mixed neighborhoods and to marry across racial lines. "
Here is a link to the full study.

In my family history blog, I have detailed the story of  our clan in America which began with the immigration of my great grandfather, Jue Joe in 1874. Members of our family are descendants of this first wave of Asian immigration in the late 19th century.  This immigration wave was severely curtailed by racist immigration policies instigated in the late 19th and early 20th century.
"Asian immigrants first came to the U.S. in significant numbers more than a century and a half ago—mainly as low-skilled male laborers who mined, farmed and built the railroads. They endured generations of officially sanctioned racial prejudice—including regulations that prohibited the immigration of Asian women; the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred all new immigration from China; the Immigration Act of 1917 and the National Origins Act of 1924, which extended the immigration ban to include virtually all of Asia; and the forced relocation and internment of about 120,000 Japanese Americans after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941"

Descendants like myself of this first wave of immigrants from China are now outnumbered by Chinese who have immigrated after 1965. 
"Asian Americans either are immigrants from Asia (59%) or are descendants of immigrants (41%)."

The new first generation immigrants are very different from the first generation immigrants in the late 19th century.
"Large-scale immigration from Asia did not take off until the passage of the landmark Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Over the decades, this modern wave of immigrants from Asia has increasingly become more skilled and educated. Today, recent arrivals from Asia are nearly twice as likely as those who came three decades ago to have a college degree, and many go into high-paying fields such as science, engineering, medicine and finance. This evolution has been spurred by changes in U.S. immigration policies and labor markets; by political liberalization and economic growth in the sending countries; and by the forces of globalization in an ever-more digitally interconnected world."

Chinese comprise the largest Asian American group at 23%. but Indian Americans comprising 18% of Asian Americans lead all other groups by a significant margin in their levels of income and education.

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