Bridges: Asians rising


(Continued from yesterday)

BUT despite often sizable subgroup differences, Asian-Americans are distinctive as a whole, especially when compared with all US adults, whom they exceed not just in the share with a college degree (49 percent vs. 28 percent), but also in annual household income and wealth.

They are noteworthy in other ways, too.

According to the Pew Research Center survey of a nationally representative sample of 3,511 Asian-Americans, conducted by telephone, in English and seven Asian languages, they are more satisfied than the general public with their lives overall (82 percent vs. 75 percent), their personal finances (51 percent vs. 35 percent) and the general direction of the country (43 percent vs. 21 percent).

They also stand out for their strong emphasis on family. More than half (54 percent) say that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in life; just 34 percent of all American adults agree.

Two-thirds of Asian-American adults (67 percent) say that being a good parent is one of the most important things in life; just 50 percent of all adults agree. Their living arrangements align with these values.

They are more likely than all American adults to be married; their newborns are less likely than all US newborns to have an unmarried mother; and their children are more likely than all US children to be raised in a household with two married parents.

They are more likely than the general public to live in multi-generational family households. Some 28 percent live with at least two adult generations under the same roof, twice the share of whites and slightly more than the share of blacks and Hispanics who live in such households.

US Asians also have a strong sense of filial respect; about two-thirds say parents should have a lot or some influence in choosing one’s profession and spouse.

Furthermore, Asian-Americans have a pervasive belief in the rewards of hard work. Nearly seven in 10 say people can get ahead if they are willing to work hard, a view shared by a somewhat smaller share of the American public as a whole. And fully 93 percent of Asian-Americans describe members of their country of origin group as “very hardworking”; just 57 percent say the same about Americans as a whole.

The immigration wave from Asia has occurred at a time when the largest sending countries have experienced dramatic gains in their standards of living.

But few Asian immigrants are looking over their shoulders with regret. Just 12 percent say that if they had to do it all over again, they would remain in their country of origin.

And by lopsided margins, Asian-Americans say the US is preferable to their country of origin in such realms as providing economic opportunity, political and religious freedoms, and good conditions for raising children.

Respondents rated their country of origin as being superior on just one of seven measures tested in the survey — strength of family ties./PN