A major study performed by Harvard researchers found extremely strong upward mobility among children of low income immigrant Asian mothers. The retail store worker’s child who graduated from U.C. Berkeley is not an urban legend.
The researchers looked at the income rank in society of people in their late 30s compared to the income rank of their parents. The purpose of the study was to understand mobility – up, no change, or down – from the parents to the child. They studied patterns by geography and racial/ethnic groups. Of interest to me is that they compared the results of whether the mother was born in the U.S. or was an immigrant.
For whites, Hispanics, blacks and native Americans, there was virtually no difference in mobility of children of native-born or immigrant mothers. But for Asians the mobility is dramatically higher where the mother was an immigrant with relatively low income. That is, children of low income Asian mothers are far more likely to work their way out of low income status, compared to all other types of lower income households: native born Asian mothers, and whites, Hispanics, blacks and native Americans.
As reported here.