Enduring Advantages: Asian Indian and Chinese Immigrant Wealth
Chinese and Indian immigrants to the U.S. have high wealth among immigrants, but there is considerable within-group heterogeneity.
Since the 1965 immigration reforms that abolished discriminatory immigration quotas, a tremendous influx of immigrants from Latin America, Africa, and Asia to the U.S. has occurred. Accompanying this diversity in immigrant country of origin are new patterns of socioeconomic stratification. Chinese and Asian Indians are two rapidly growing immigrant groups in the U.S., and these groups are notable for attaining significant upward mobility. Scholars often neglect the significant heterogeneity within immigrant groups by focusing on broader stratification patterns between all immigrants, but data from the New Immigrant Survey shows differences in wealth attainment between Chinese and Indian immigrants as well as differences within each nationality. Results indicate that Indian immigrant households have higher wealth than Chinese households, and institutional access explains this difference. In addition, there are unique patterns of wealth attainment by immigrant group, although both Indian and Chinese immigrants with employment visas have significantly higher wealth than co-nationals with other visa status. The correlation between visa status and wealth is mediated by host country SES and financial institutional access for both immigrant groups.