4 minute read

Asian-American Families

Future Of Asian-american Families

The future of each group will indeed be as complex and diverse as the ethnic groups themselves. When asked what Asian-American parents fear the most for their children, common responses include: the loss of ethnic culture and language; poor self-concept and identity development; the alienation of adolescents resulting in their association with gangs; the ability to get into a good college; and the need to find a good, stable job. But there is a sense of hope, an expectation that hard work and perseverance will bring success, and for some, the belief in meritocracy. Others believe that Asian Americans still have to work 200 percent to get to the same place as their white peers, and that the playing field is still not level for people of color. Nathan Caplan, Marcellea Choy, and John Whitmore (1994) identified six factors that best characterize the value system of Southeast Asian refugees, the latest and poorest group: cultural foundation, family-based achievement, hard work, resettlement and commonality of the family, self-reliance and family pride, and coping and integration. In terms of priority, parents indicated that education and achievement ranked first, followed by cooperative and harmonious family, while children ranked respect for family members first and education and achievement second. The lowest values, ranking twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth for both parents and children, were desire for material possessions and for seeking fun and excitement (Caplan, Choy, and Whitmore 1994). This seems to indicate that the inculcation of what earlier Asian immigrants viewed as Asian values has been perpetuated through the generations.


Adler. S. M. (1998). Mothering, Education, and Ethnicity: The Transformation of Japanese American Culture. New York: Garland.

Bacon, J. (1996). Life Lines: Community, Family, and Assimilation among Asian Indian Immigrants. New York: Oxford University Press.

Caplan, N.; Choy, M. H.; and Whitmore, J. K. (1994). Children of the Boat People: A Study of Educational Success. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Chan, S. (1991). Asian Americans: An Interpretive History. New York: Twayne Publishers.

Chan, S. (1994). Hmong Means Free: Life in Laos and America. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Chow, E. N. (1998). "Family, Economy, and the State: A Legacy of Struggle for Chinese American Women." In Shifting the Center: Understanding Contemporary Families, ed. S. J. Ferguson. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company.

Chung, J. S. (1997). "Korean American Entrepreneurship Is an Indication of Economic Exploitation." In Asian Americans: Opposing Viewpoints, ed. B. Leone, San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press.

Espiritu, Y. L. (1995). Filipino American Lives. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Faderman, L. (1998). I Begin My Life All Over: The Hmong and the American Immigrant Experience. Boston: Beacon.

Glenn, E. N. (1983). "Split Household, Small Producer and Dual Wage Earners: An Analysis of Chinese-American Family Strategies." Journal of Marriage and Family 45:35–46.

Hess, G. R. (1998). "The Forgotten Asian Americans: The East Indian Community in the United States." In The History and Immigration of Asian Americans, ed. F. Ng. New York: Garland.

Hildebrand, V.; Phenice, L. A.; Gray, M. M.; and Hines, R. P. (2000). Knowing and Serving Diverse Families, 2nd edition. Columbus, OH: Merrill.

Hones, D. F., and Cha, C. S. (1999). Educating New Americans: Immigrant Lives and Learning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hune S. (2000). "Doing Gender with a Feminist Gaze: Toward a Historical Reconstruction of Asian America." In Contemporary Asian America: A Multidisciplinary Reader, ed. M. Zhou and J. V. Gatewood. New York: New York University Press.

Ishii-Kuntz, M. (1997). "Japanese American Families." In Families in Cultural Context: Strengths and Challenges in Diversity, ed. M. K. DeGenova. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company.

Mullen, M. (1995). "Identity Development of Korean Adoptees." In Re-Viewing Asian America: Locating Diversity, ed. F. Ng et al. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Ng, F. (1998). The History and Immigration of Asian Americans. New York: Garland.

Pang, V. O., and Cheng, L. L. (1998). Struggling to Be Heard: The Unmet Needs of Asian Pacific American Children. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Root, M. P. (1995). "The Multiracial Contribution to the Psychological Browning of America." In American Mixed Race: The Culture of Microdiversity, ed. N. Zack. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Ryu, C. (1992). "Koreans and Church." In Asian Americans: Oral Histories of First to Fourth Generation Americans from China, the Philippines, Japan, India, the Pacific Islands, Vietnam and Cambodia, ed. J. F. Lee. New York: The New Press.

Takaki, R. (1989). Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans. Boston: Little, Brown.

Zhou, M. (2000). "Social Capital in Chinatown: The Role of Community-Based Organizations and Families in the Adaptation of the Younger Generation." In Contemporary Asian America: A Multidisciplinary Reader, ed. M. Zhou and J. V. Gatewood. New York: New York University Press.

Zhou, M., and Gatewood, J. V. (2000). Contemporary Asian America: A Multidisciplinary Reader. New York: New York University Press.

Zia, H. (2000). Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsAsian-American Families - Varied Immigration Histories, Family Structures And Gender Roles, Religion And Cultural Values, Regional And Generational Differences