Earnings and English Language: Asian Indians and Chinese in the United States

Veena Kulkarni, University of Maryland

Asian Indians and Chinese are the two largest immigrant Asian groups in the United States. Though, while Asian Indians are heterogeneous with respect to the English language ability, Chinese are more or less homogenous. Past research shows that knowing the language of the receiving country is a crucial variable in determining the extent of assimilation and subsequently the earnings of the immigrants. There have not been however studies comparing the Asian Indians and Chinese in this regard and also none so far among the Indians. This paper using the 1990 and 2000 United States Census data examines the relation between English language ability and the earnings for Chinese and Asian Indians. The dependent variables are; a) household income per year b) income earned by the person per year. The independent variable is English language ability and controls are age at entry, education, years of stay, martial status, occupation.

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Presented in Session 115: The Economic Adaptation of Immigrants