Thu, Jun 21, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Asian-Americans best educated: report

FAMILY VALUES:The group stands out for its strong emphasis on family, the Pew Research Center survey said, with very few newborns having an unmarried mother

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in Washington

Asian-Americans are the highest-earning, best-educated and -fastest-growing ethnic group in the US according to a nationwide survey just released by the Pew Research Center in Washington.

“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,” the survey showed.

While nearly 500,000 people living in the US identify themselves as Taiwanese, they were not -considered a separate group for the purposes of the survey.

“A century ago, most Asian-Americans were low-skilled, low-wage laborers crowded into ethnic enclaves and targets of official discrimination,” the Pew survey said.

Today, they are the most likely of any major ethnic group in the US to live in mixed neighborhoods and to marry across racial lines. Thirty-seven percent of all recent Asian-American brides wed a non-Asian groom.

“These milestones of economic success and social assimilation have come to a group that is still majority immigrant,” the survey said.

Nearly three-quarters of Asian-American adults were born abroad and, of these, only about half speak English “very well.”

Asians recently passed Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants to the US.

“The educational credentials of these recent arrivals are striking,” the survey said.

More than six in 10 adults aged 25 to 64 who have come from Asia in recent years have at least a bachelor’s degree.

“This is double the share among recent non-Asian arrivals and almost surely makes the recent Asian arrivals the most highly educated cohort of immigrants in US history,” the survey added.

The total population of Asian-Americans is now a record 18.2 million, or 5.8 percent of the US population. Asian-Americans have a median annual household income of US$66,000, versus US$49,800 for all US adults, and a median household wealth of US$83,500 versus US$68,529.

The survey involved a “nationally representative sample” of 3,511 Asian-Americans and was conducted by telephone in English and seven Asian languages over the last few months.

Asian-Americans are more satisfied than the general public with their lives overall (82 percent versus 75 percent); their personal finances (51 percent versus 35 percent) and the general direction of the US (43 percent versus 21 percent).

“They also stand out for their strong emphasis on family,” the survey said.

More than half said that having a successful marriage was one of the most important things in life, while just 34 percent of all US adults agree.

They are more likely than all US adults to be married (59 percent versus 51 percent); their newborns are less likely than all US newborns to have an unmarried mother (16 percent versus 41 percent); and their children are more likely than all US children to be raised in a household with two married parents (80 percent versus 63 percent).

About one in five Asian--Americans say they have personally been treated unfairly in the past year because they are Asian, and one in 10 say they have been called an offensive name.

However, compared with the nation’s two largest minority groups — Hispanics and blacks — Asian-Americans appear to be less inclined to view discrimination against their group as a major problem. Just 13 percent of Asian-Americans said it was, while about half said it was a minor problem and a third said it was not a problem at all.

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