Socioeconomic Attainments of Second-Generation South Asian Americans: Evidence from the American Community Survey, 2014–2018

Fizza Raza, Arthur Sakamoto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Using data from the American Community Survey for 2014–2018, we provide empirical evidence about the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of South Asian Americans. Our study investigates not only Indians, but also provides the first multivariate analyses for Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Pakistani, and Sri Lankans. The focus is on second-generation South Asians, but some descriptive statistics are shown for first-generation immigrants. In comparison to Whites, the educational distributions of first-generation immigrants are bimodal to varying degrees across the South Asian groups. However, with the exception of the Nepalese, all of the native-born South Asian groups obtain higher levels of education than Whites. Poverty among South Asian groups tends to reflect their educational levels so that poverty rates decline between the first-generation and the native-born, but second-generation Bangladeshi and Pakistani have somewhat higher than expected poverty due to family size and composition. Second-generation Indians, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans are more likely to be affluent than Whites, and these differences are partly but not fully explained by educational and other demographic characteristics. Other findings provide no support for the popular claim that the wages of second-generation South Asian groups are disadvantaged in comparison to Whites.
Original languageEnglish
Article number28
Number of pages28
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Affluence
  • Asian Americans
  • Assimilation
  • Education
  • Household income
  • Poverty
  • Racial inequality
  • South Asians
  • Wages
  • second-generation


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