Asian-American Youth

Yoonsun Choi

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online July 2012 | | DOI:
Asian-American Youth

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Although they are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States, Asian Americans and their children remain one of the least understood. Filling this vacuum are stereotypes and prejudices, the most widespread of which portrays them as model minorities who made it in this land of opportunity. They are also often lumped together despite their diversity, which significantly hinders accurate understanding of this growing group of Americans. Several characteristics of Asian Americans, especially those of the parent generation, are critical to understanding Asian American youth: the socioeconomic status (SES) of family, culture of origin and acculturation level, and refugee status. These characteristics are important predictors of youth developmental outcomes and differ significantly across subgroups. The distribution of SES is almost bimodal among subgroups. For example, 2010 census data show that more than 60 percent of immigrant adults from India and Taiwan, but fewer than 5 percent of those from Cambodia and Laos, reported having college degrees. Occupation and income levels show similarly bifurcated patterns, with Chinese, Asian Indian, Korean, Japanese, and Filipinos at the upper level, and other groups at the lower level. The majority of parents of Asian American youth are recent immigrants who migrated since 1965. For example, despite a long history of immigration, Chinese Americans comprise notably more first- and second-generation immigrants than third or later generations. An exception is Japanese Americans, who are primarily third or later generations. The varying length of US residence results in diversity in acculturation level, but, given that the majority is recently immigrant, it is safe to say that Asian American youth primarily live in the cultural context of their families’ origin. Unlike their parents, the majority of Asian American youth are 1.5 or second generation. The term “1.5 generation” refers to those who immigrated during adolescence. Thus, the younger generation whose schooling and socialization have occurred mainly in United States is establishing an ethnic and cultural identity that is distinct from that of their parents. Interracial relationships and marriages are common among the younger generation, with the rate being highest among racial groups. Over 30 percent of all married Asian Americans and two-thirds of US-born Asians (disproportionately women) are interracially married. The younger generation is also culturally more integrated into the mainstream than their parents. This new trend is likely to change the characteristics and dynamics of the Asian American community in significant ways.

Article.  12539 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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