A new study published in the American Sociological Review reveals that Asian American men are discriminated against in the job market, resulting in lower pay for Asian American men compared to similarly qualified white men. The discrepancy in pay varies based on the generation level of the individual. A U.S. born Asian American for example, has on average 8% lower pay in same job function, while a first generation Asian American (one who completed their education overseas) earned 29% less than a comparable white male.
The study also looked at 1.25 and 1.5 generation Asian American males, two terms that were new to me. A 1.25 generation Asian American male is one that earned their highest degree at a U.S. institution but completed their earlier education in their country of origin. A 1.5 generation Asian American male is an individual that came to the U.S. as a child and speaks perfect English. In 1.25 generation Asian American men there was a 14% cut in pay compared to equivalent white males. Strangely enough, only the 1.5 generation Asian American male had earnings parity with white males.
More on income disparity after the jump.
If you’re an observant reader of 8Asians, you might notice a discrepancy between this study and another one we talked about, that led us to say that Asian Men Have the Highest Salary. The difference between this study and the previous one, is that this study normalizes for the actual job being performed, while the previous one took all men, regardless of job held. The obvious conclusion is that Asian American men tend to have jobs that pay more, but they earn less at these higher paying jobs than equivalent white males (with the exception of the 1.5 generation of Asian American men).
I also happened to catch another blog posting this week on The Blasian Narrative that tackled the topic of Asian American households having the highest income levels. The numbers seem to bear out that Asian Americans make more, because the typical Asian American household has the highest income level of all households. But when broken out into individual income figures, Asian American individuals came out well below white individuals. As the article states, it just means Asian American households are larger and have more individuals in each family who are working.
So regardless of how the numbers are spun, it does appear that Asian Americans (with the exception of the 1.5 generation Asian American male), do make less than comparable white Americans. That’s a sad conclusion, showing we still have some distance to go to achieve equality.
On our internal 8Asians mailing list we wondered why a 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation Asian American male would make less than their white counterpart, but a 1.5 generation Asian American male could achieve parity. One suggestion had to do with higher work ethic in the Asian immigrant community which is also mentioned in the linked article from newswise.com. But other writers dismissed this claiming that there shouldn’t be a difference between 1.5 generation and 2nd generation, as the work ethic should still be relatively strong in the 2nd generation. What’s been your experience? Is there a difference between 1.5 and 2nd generation attitudes and work ethic?