Testing the Transnational Hypothesis: Continued Home Engagement among Asian American Immigrants

Emi Tamaki, University of Washington

Sociological studies on assimilation have often shown that the adaptation of immigrants to American society increases with the duration of residence in the US. A logical corollary of assimilation research is that engagement with the country of origin will decline over time as immigrants become attached to the US. This view is challenged, however, by the literature on transnationalism, which posits that continued home involvement is a common pattern among immigrants. This study uses the Asian-American sample of the National Latino and Asian American Survey to test hypotheses on assimilation and transnationalism. The results indicate that 1) immigrants’ engagement with the country of origin is not at odds with their adaptation to American society, 2) coming to the US as a child significantly reduces the propensity of engaging in transnational activities net of immigrants’ resources and attachment to the US, and 3) the country of origin is a significant predictor of both financial and social transnationalism.

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Presented in Session 63: Socioeconomic Attainment and Assimilation of Asian Americans