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Houston Area Asian Survey: DIVERSITY AND TRANSFORMATION AMONG ASIANS IN HOUSTON


February 2013

Kinder Institute for Urban Research Rice University, MS 208 6100 Main Street Houston, TX 77005 Telephone: (713) 348-4132 http://www.kinder.rice.edu For additional copies of this publication and for further information, please contact the Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research at kinder@rice.edu. Copyright © 2013 by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research. All rights reserved. On the Cover: Clockwise from top, left - “George Fujimoto,” “Ratna G. Sarkar,” “Rathna Kumar,” “Rachel Soyon Otto,” “Eric Shin” and “Huan Le.” All photos courtesy of the Houston Asian American Archives – Chao Center for Asian Studies, Woodson Research Center, Rice University. *The copyright holder for this material is either unknown or unable to be found. This material is being made available by Rice University for non-profit educational use under the Fair Use Section of US Copyright Law. This digital version is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.


DIVERSITY AND TRANSFORMATION AMONG ASIANS IN HOUSTON: Findings from the Kinder Institute’s Houston Area Asian Survey (1995, 2002, 2011) By

Stephen L. Klineberg, Principal Investigator

Co-Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Jie Wu, Research Project Manager


Houston Area Asian Survey Sponsors

Asia Society of Texas Center Dr. and Mrs. George C. Yang / Asia Chemical Corporation Chinese Community Center Southern News Group Mr. Barry D. Warner / Saigon Tex News Ms. Grace Lynn Mr. David Leebron and Ms. Y. Ping Sun Thanks also to the following for their support of the Houston Area Asian Survey research effort: Gordon Quan, Donna Cole, Dr. Long S. Le, Dr. Beverly Gor, Glen Gondo, Dr. Patrick Leung, Kim Szeto, Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University, Rice University Office of Public Affairs, and the Woodson Research Center, Rice University Fondren Library. Special thanks to the Asia Society of Texas Center, Richmond Printing, and Rogene Calvert and Mustafa Tameez of Outreach Strategists for facilitating the survey release.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

.Page INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Houston, from 1900 to 1982 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 THE DEMOGRAPHIC REVOLUTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Figure 1 The U.S. Census Figures for Harris County, 1960 to 2010 Figure 2 The Geographic Distribution of Harris County’s Ethnic Populations, from the U.S. Census of 1980 and of 2010 The Houston Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Figure 3 The U.S. Census Figures for Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties in 1990, 2000 and 2010 Figure 4 The Geographic Distribution of the Asian Populations in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, from the U.S. Census of 2010 The Immigration Reform Act of 1965 that Changed America. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Table 1 Harris County’s Asian Populations in the U.S. Census of 1990, 2000 and 2010 Conducting the Surveys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Figure 5

Harris County’s Asian Populations by Country of Origin, in the U.S. Census and in the Three Asian Surveys Combined

ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN MIGRATION PATTERNS, AGE AND EDUCATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Migration Patterns in Four Communities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Table 2 Age and Migration Patterns in Four Ethnic Communities Age and Ethnicity in Houston. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Figure 6 Ethnicity by Age in Harris County, from the U.S. Census of 2010 A Bifurcated Immigration into a Bifurcated Economy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Figure 7 Distributions by Education in Five Communities The “Model Minority” Myth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

DIFFERENCES IN LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES AMONG THE ASIAN COMMUNITIES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Figure 8 Distributions by Education among the Four Largest Asian Communities Income Differences among the Asians. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Figure 9 Distributions by Household Income among the Four Largest Asian Communities The Primary Reasons for Coming to America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Figure 10 The Most Important Reasons Given for Immigrating to America among the Four Largest Asian Communities Still a “Glass Ceiling”? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Figure 11 Distributions by Education and Income among Anglos and Asians in Harris County

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Ethnic Divides in Perspectives on Immigration and Intergroup Relations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Figure 12 Figure 13

Distributions by Beliefs about Immigration and Ethnic Diversity among the Four Major Ethnic Communities The Average Ratings Given by Asians to Relations with the Three Other Ethnic Communities on the 10-Point Scale

CONTRASTS IN RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL PERSPECTIVES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Figure 14 Distributions by Religious Preference in Four Asian Communities and among all Asians Political Affiliations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Figure 15 Figure 16

Political Party Affiliation among Harris County’s Three Largest Asian Communities in 1995, 2002 and 2011 Distributions on Attitudes toward the Role of Government among the Four Major Ethnic Communities

SOME FURTHER GLIMPSES INTO THE FUTURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 The Changing Waves of Vietnamese Immigration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Table 3 Selected Differences among Successive Streams of Vietnamese Immigrants The Rise of the Second Generation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Figure 17 Figure 18

Distributions by Immigrant Generation and by Time in the U.S. among Harris County’s Asian Populations in 1995, 2002 and 2011 Distributions by Education and Income among the First and Second Generations of Asian Immigrants in Harris County

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 REFERENCE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 APPENDIX: DISTRIBUTIONS OF RESPONSES AMONG THE FOUR ETHNIC COMMUNITIES ON SELECTED ITEMS FROM THE KINDER INSTITUTE’S 2011 HOUSTON AREA SURVEY. . . . . . 41

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INTRODUCTION This report presents some of the most important findings from three expanded versions, in particular, of the Kinder Institute’s annual “Houston Area Survey” (1982-2012). In all but one of the years between 1994 and 2012, the basic random samples of Harris County residents have been expanded to reach large representative samples, numbering about 500 each, from the county’s Anglo, African-American and Hispanic populations. In 1995, 2002 and 2011, generous additional contributions from the wider Houston community made it possible to include equally large representative samples of the region’s varied Asian communities, with one-fourth of the interviews being conducted in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin or Korean. In the pages that follow, we first describe the remarkable demographic trends that have transformed this Anglo-dominated biracial southern city of 30 years ago into what is today the single most ethnically diverse large metropolitan region in the country (Emerson et al. 2012).

Drawing on the three Asian surveys spanning 16 years (from 1995 to 2011), we document the distinctiveness of the Asian experience in comparison with Harris County’s Anglos, blacks and Latinos; we explore the most important differences in life circumstances, attitudes and beliefs among the area’s four largest Asian communities – Vietnamese, Indians/Pakistanis, Chinese/Taiwanese and Filipinos; and we consider some of the implications of the survey findings for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Houston, from 1900 to 1982 Throughout most of the twentieth century, and especially in the years after World War II, Houston was America’s quintessential “boomtown.” This was basically a “one-horse” industrial city, with 82 percent of all its primary-sector jobs tied to the oil business, focused on refining hydrocarbons into gasoline and petrochemicals and on servicing the oil and gas industry (Thomas and Murray 1991).

“Gene’s Food Market, Houston, Texas, interior view, 1958.” Photographer unknown. Gene & Hedy Lee Chinese language newspapers & photographs, 1976-1985 (MS 556), Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.*

*The copyright holder for this material is either unknown or unable to be found. This material is being made available by Rice University for non-profit educational use under the Fair Use Section of US Copyright Law. This digital version is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

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While the rest of the country was languishing in the national recession known as the “stagflating 70s,” Houston had already become the energy capital of the world, widely regarded as the “Golden Buckle of the Sun Belt,” its prime industrial products growing many times more valuable with no lessening of world demand. Thanks to the Arab oil embargo and then the Iranian Revolution, the price of a barrel of Texas oil increased from $3.39 in 1971, to $12.64 in 1979, to $31.77 in 1981. During the decade of the 1970s, the value of foreign trade through the Port of Houston grew ten-fold, local bank deposits tripled in value, and the region led the nation in housing starts, real estate investments, and the growth of manufacturing (Feagin 1988). During those heady years between 1970 and 1982, Harris County gained almost one million additional inhabitants. Newcomers from across America – overwhelmingly non-Hispanic whites – were pouring into this booming city: 1,380 people a week were being added to the county’s population; every day on average, more than 230 additional cars and trucks were pouring onto its streets and freeways. Then suddenly, in May 1982, the oil boom collapsed.

The global recession in that year had suppressed demand for oil just as new supplies were coming onto world markets. The price of Texas crude fell from around $32 per barrel to less than $28 at the end of 1983. The all-important rig count entered into the “free fall” that took it from a peak of 4,530 rigs drilling for oil on U.S. territory down to less than 3,000 by the close of 1982 (Fallows 1985). The value of the Mexican peso also plummeted in that year, reducing the number of affluent Mexicans coming to the city to shop, and the overvalued dollar made American products more expensive abroad, causing a rapid decline in exports from the Port of Houston. Over the next few years the recession deepened and then spread across the entire economy. One of every seven jobs that were in Houston in 1982 disappeared by early 1987, marking this as the worst regional recession in any part of the country at any time since World War II. “After years of drawing aces,” Thomas and Murray (1991:62) observed, “Houston’s economic luck had turned sour.” A new and very different chapter in the city’s history was about to begin.

THE DEMOGRAPHIC REVOLUTION The Houston region recovered from the prolonged recession of the mid-1980s to find itself squarely in the midst of a restructured, two-tiered, knowledge-based, fully global economy and a truly remarkable transformation in its ethnic and cultural composition. Figure 1 depicts the U.S. Census figures for Harris County in each of the last six decades. The figures show clearly that the region’s surging population growth during the oil-boom years of the 1960s and 1970s was brought about primarily by the influx of Anglos, the non-Hispanic white Americans who were streaming into this energy capital from other parts of the country. The Anglo numbers grew by 31 percent in the 1960s and by another 25 percent in the 1970s. By 1981 Houston had overtaken Philadelphia to become the fourth largest city in America, with a population that was still almost twothirds Anglo and only 2 percent Asian. 6

Kinder Institute for Urban Research

“Jade Buddha Temple.” Southwest Houston. Photo by Megan Dillingham, January 2013.


Figure 1 — The U.S. Census Figures for Harris County, 1960 to 2010 4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0

7.7%

Asians/Others Hispanics

6.7%

Blacks 4.1%

Anglos 2.1%

POPULATION, IN MILLIONS

2.5

1.5

0.8%

19.7%

19.1%

62.7%

54.0%

9.9% 0.3%

1.0

18.2%

18.4%

42.1%

33.0%

20.1%

6.0% 19.8%

0.5

40.8%

22.7%

15.5%

2.0

32.9%

69.2%

73.9%

0.0 1960

(1,243,258)

1970

(1,741,912)

1980

(2,409,547)

1990

(2,818,199)

2000

(3,400,578)

2010

(4,092,459)

Source: U.S. Census. Classifications based on Texas State Data Center conventions.

After the collapse of oil prices in 1982, Harris County’s Anglo numbers stopped growing and then declined. Yet the county’s population expanded by another 17 percent in the 1980s and by 21 and 20 percent in the ensuing two decades. The county’s continued growth during the past three decades is attributable almost exclusively to immigration from abroad as well as to new births often the children of earlier immigrants and of U.S.-born Latinos, Asians and African Americans. During the decade of the 1990s, while the county’s Anglo population was actually declining by more than 6 percent, its black population increased 15 percent, its Hispanic population by 75 percent and its Asian population by 76 percent. Between 2000 and 2010, the Houston metro region grew by more than 1.2 million, making it America’s fastestgrowing large metropolitan area. Harris County’s Anglo population declined by another 6 percent during that decade, while the number of blacks grew by another 22 percent, Latinos by 49 percent and Asians by 45 percent. In 2010 the U.S. Census counted 4.1 million people in the county, of whom just 33 percent were non-Hispanic whites. Harris

County’s population was now 41 percent Hispanic, 18 percent African-American, and 8 percent Asian or other. The GIS maps presented in Figure 2 illustrate this demographic revolution. In the U.S. Census of 1980, the tracts that were majority Anglo (shown in red) overwhelmingly predominated. The majority African-American census tracts (in black) were confined to the “black corridor” (Bullard 1987) along the eastern side of Downtown, primarily in the Third Ward and the Fifth Ward. The predominantly Latino tracts (in brown) were concentrated in the “Segundo Barrio” along the Houston Ship Channel, and there was just a smattering of census tracts around the downtown area in which there was no majority (shown in yellow).

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Figure 2 — The Geographic Distribution of Harris County’s Ethnic Populations, from the U.S. Census of 1980 and of 2010

Source: Outreach Strategists, LLC.

By 2010 Harris County’s geography had changed dramatically. The red areas (majority Anglo) are now largely confined to the west of Downtown and the census tracts on the periphery of the county. The majority Latino tracts have expanded out to the north and east of Houston’s downtown

areas. The continued “hypersegregation” of African Americans can be seen in the virtually unchanged configuration of the “black corridor,” and the “multicultural” tracts are now spreading everywhere around the edges of the City of Houston and beyond.

“BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.” Stafford, Texas. Photo by Jie Wu, January 2013.

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The Houston Numbers

population grew the most rapidly of all, expanding by a remarkable 150 percent between 2000 and 2010; Sugar Land, its largest city, was 37 percent Asian in 2010.

While Harris County was growing by 20 percent between 2000 and 2010, the surrounding counties grew even faster. Fort Bend County expanded by 65 percent in the past ten years, and Montgomery County by 55 percent. Most have also increased dramatically in diversity. As indicated in Figure 3, Fort Bend County in 1990 was less than 7 percent Asian and almost 54 percent Anglo. By 2010 it was 19 percent Asian, 24 percent Latino, 21 percent African American and 36 percent Anglo, coming closer than any other county in the United States to having an equal division among the nation’s four major ethnic communities. The county’s Asian

Montgomery County, the least diverse of the region’s five most populous counties, had a nonHispanic white population of 88 percent in 1990 and 81 percent in 2000. During the past decade, the county’s Anglo population grew by another 36 percent, but it added more non-Anglos, so that today the Montgomery County population is just 71 percent Anglo. The demographic revolution is fully under way across the entire metropolitan region.

Figure 3 — The U.S. Census Figures for Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties in 1990, 2000 and 2010 700,000 Asians/Others Hispanics

19.0%

600,000

Blacks Anglos

500,000

4.0% 23.7%

400,000

13.1%

300,000

20.8% 21.1%

6.5%

POPULATION

200,000

100,000

19.5%

21.1%

46.2%

12.6% 3.4% 1.0%

19.6%

20.3%

4.1%

2.5%

7.3% 4.2%

36.2%

71.2%

81.4%

87.5%

53.8% 0 Fort Bend-1990 (225,421)

Fort Bend-2000 (354,452)

Fort Bend-2010 (585,375)

Montgomery-1990 Montgomery-2000 Montgomery-2010 (182,201) (293,768) (455,746)

Source: U.S. Census. Classifications based on Texas State Data Center conventions.

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The GIS map depicted in Figure 4 shows the geographical distribution of the Asian populations in Harris and Fort Bend counties in 2010. The dark green areas indicate the census tracts where the Asian population accounted for more than 20 percent of the tract’s total population, the medium green color designates areas where the Asians were 12.5 to 20 percent of the population, and the light green represents the areas where Asians constituted 8.0 to 12.5 percent. As indicated in the map, the region’s Asian populations are disproportionately concentrated in

the Braeswood-to-Bellaire sector close to the Texas Medical Center, in the Clear Lake area in southeast Harris County, in the Alief and Katy areas of western Harris County, in the Cypress-Tomball area in northwest Harris County, and in the Sugar Land-Missouri City region of Fort Bend County. Note, however, that despite the rapid Asian growth in Fort Bend County, in sheer numbers there are more than 2.5 times as many Asians living in Harris County as in Fort Bend: Asians constitute about 8 percent of Harris County’s 4 million inhabitants, and 19 percent of Ford Bend County’s 500,000.

Figure 4 — The Geographic Distribution of the Asian Populations in Harris and Fort Bend Counties, from the U.S. Census of 2010

Source: Outreach Strategists, LLC.

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Kinder Institute for Urban Research


The Immigration Reform Act of 1965 that Changed America We need to stand back for a moment and ask about the historical background for these dramatic transformations in the ethnic composition of the Houston area and – to only a slightly lesser extent – of Texas and throughout America. Between 1924 and 1965, under the notorious “National Origins Quota Act,” immigration into this country slowed to a trickle. Asians were effectively banned from coming to America, and explicit preference was accorded to Northern Europeans. With that legislation in effect, 82 percent of all the immigrant visas issued during this period went to northwestern Europeans and 16 percent were allocated to other Europeans, leaving 2 percent for everyone else. In 1965, in the aftermath of the civil rights movement and of Kennedy’s assassination, the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments (a.k.a. the “Hart-Celler Act”) finally undid the nation’s previous immigration policy, with its explicitly racist assumptions, and opened immigration to the rest of the world for the first time in the twentieth century. More generous limits were established, and visas were no longer allocated on the basis of ethnicity or national origin. Preferences were now to be based primarily on family reunification, with additional priority given to immigrants with professional skills or proven vulnerability to persecution. The act’s proponents did not expect it to bring much change, either in the numbers of immigrants or in their composition, but the effects were dramatic. Soon after the new law was enacted, the number of newcomers began to grow rapidly again, ending a fifty-year hiatus on large-scale immigration, and the European proportion fell precipitously. During the 1990s and again in the first decade of this century, more than 10 million immigrants came to America, of whom only 12 percent were arriving from Europe. More than 85 percent of the new immigration was now coming from Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. The 2011 American Community Study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the number of foreign-born residents in the United States at more

than 40 million, representing 13 percent of the total U.S. population. Immigrants from Latin America accounted for more than half (53 percent) of the foreign-born. Another 29 percent were from Asia, 12 percent from Europe, 4 percent from Africa, and 3 percent from everywhere else (Gryn and Gambino 2012). The United States, which throughout all of its history had been an amalgam of European nationalities, is rapidly becoming a microcosm of the world. In several of America’s largest cities, the “majorityminority” future is already here. Newly arriving immigrants tend to cluster in a small number of metropolitan areas, attracted by family and linguistic connections and benefiting greatly from the social and economic support that co-ethnic communities provide. Over half of all the foreign-born residents in America live in four states – California, New York, Texas and Florida. In the year 2000, two metropolitan areas contained more than one-third of the entire foreign-born population in the United States (Waldinger 2001): 5.2 million foreign-born residents were living in the New York City metropolitan region, and 5.1 million in the Los Angeles area. These two “immigrant capitals” were followed by five smaller but important “gateway” cities – San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Houston. The new immigration spread next to Dallas, Boston, San Diego and Phoenix, and is now reaching into virtually every city and town across the nation. Nowhere has the demographic transformation been more sudden or dramatic than in the Houston area. The Asian surge. Table 1 presents the population figures from the U.S. Census in 1990, 2000 and 2010 for each of the major Asian communities in Harris County. In the latest census, 253,032 residents of Harris County checked an Asian nationality on the “race” question and an additional 27,309 checked “Asian” in combination with one or more other races, for a total of 280,341 Asian-origin residents. This represents an increase of more than 45 percent from the 193,059 Harris County Asians who were counted in the 2000 Census; and the 2000 figures represented a growth of 76 percent from the 1990 numbers. Among those who self-identified as only one Asian nationality on the “race” question, the Vietnamese,

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already the largest of Harris County’s Asian communities, grew by another 45 percent between 2000 and 2010, followed by the Filipinos (also at 45 percent), the Indians/Pakistanis (at 39 percent), the Koreans (35 percent), and the Chinese/Taiwanese (27 percent). The number of Asians coming from other countries in the Far East and in Southeast Asia (e.g., Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand) almost doubled during the past decade to reach a total of 40,684, representing 15 percent of all the Asians currently living in Harris County. In 1980 the Chinese were the largest Asian community in the county. By 1990 they trailed the Vietnamese, and by 2000 they

had slipped into third place, now numbering slightly fewer than the region’s Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi population. In Fort Bend County, the 2010 Census counted 106,263 Asians. Unlike in Harris County, the Indians and Pakistanis, at 31 percent, are the largest of Fort Bend’s Asian communities. Next come the Chinese and Taiwanese, at 21 percent; the Vietnamese constitute just 15 percent of all the Asians in Fort Bend County. The Indians and Pakistanis were also the largest population of Asians in Montgomery County, followed by the Chinese and the Filipinos.

Table 1 — Harris County’s Asian Populations in the U.S. Census of 1990, 2000 and 2010

* These figures include the Asians who identified with more than one race. Source: U.S. Census 1990, 2000 and 2010, Demographic Profiles (www.census.gov).

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Conducting the Surveys Across 31 years of systematic survey research (1982-2012), the Kinder Institute’s Houston Area Survey has tracked America’s fourth largest city in the self-conscious process of reinventing itself for the twenty-first century. No other metropolitan region in the nation has been the focus of a long-term study of this scope. None more clearly exemplifies the remarkable trends that are rapidly refashioning the social and political landscape across all of urban America. In order to ensure that every Harris County adult living in a household with a telephone (either landline or cell phone) will have an equal probability of being interviewed, survey respondents are selected each year through a two-stage procedure. In each household reached by randomly generated telephone numbers, the eligible respondent is selected randomly from all household members aged 18 or older, with initial preference given to an adult male. Using “back translation” and the reconciliation of discrepancies, the questionnaire is translated into Spanish, and bilingual interviewers are assigned to the project at all times. In 18 of the past 19 years (from 1994 through 2012; the one exception was 1996), the surveys have been expanded with supplementary interviews in Houston’s three largest ethnic communities. Using identical random-selection procedures, and terminating after the first few questions if the respondent is not of the ethnic background required, additional interviews were conducted in each of these years to enlarge and equalize the samples of Anglo, African-American and Hispanic respondents at about 500 each per year. It is much more difficult to obtain large representative samples from Houston’s Asian communities, because they still constitute a relatively small proportion of the Houston population as a whole, and Asians are twice as likely as Anglos to be living with at least two adult generations under the same roof (Pew 2012). One out of every two randomly selected households in Harris County can be expected to contain an

African-American or Latino adult, but only four or five of every one hundred households will reach an Asian. In 1995, 2002, and 2011, with the generous support of the wider Houston community, researchers at Rice University were able, in conjunction with the annual Houston Area Survey, to dial the 60,000 or so randomly generated phone numbers required to identify a sufficient number of Asian households to complete systematic telephone interviews with representative samples of approximately 500 Asians across Harris County, with more than a quarter of the interviews conducted in the native languages. The Survey Research Institute (SRI) at the University of Houston’s Hobby Center for Public Policy conducted all the telephone interviews for the expanded 2011 survey. Between February and May of 2011, a representative sample of 506 Harris County Asians participated in the interviews, along with 511 Anglos, 502 African Americans and 501 Latinos, with 65 percent of the respondents reached by landline and 35 percent by cell phone. Of the 506 Asian interviews in the 2011 survey, 14 percent were conducted in Vietnamese, 4 percent in Cantonese, 9 percent in Mandarin, and the rest in English. Presented in the Appendix at the end of this report are some of the most significant questions that were asked in the 2011 survey, organized by central themes, along with the distributions of responses to each question given separately for the Asians, Anglos, African Americans and Latinos who participated in the study. Figure 5 compares the countries of origin of the survey participants in the three Asian surveys with the U.S. Census figures for the different Asian nationalities in the decennial census of 1990, 2000 and 2010. As indicated in the figure (and as seen in Table 1), the distributions by country of origin among all the Harris County Asians in 2010 who named only one race on the census form were as follows: 32 percent said they were Vietnamese, 20 percent Indian or Pakistani, 17 percent Chinese or Taiwanese, 9 percent Filipino and 5 percent Korean.

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firm, to conduct a systematic “weighting” of the data. The procedure uses all available information from the U.S. Census to correct for nonresponse and coverage biases in the samples. It assigns weights to each of the responses to ensure that the final distributions in the surveys are in close agreement with the actual Harris County distributions with respect to such parameters as race and ethnicity, age, gender, education level and home ownership. The slight corrections that result from this process will provide a more accurate and reliable reflection of the actual attitudes and experiences to be found within the Harris County population as a whole. Unless otherwise indicated, the results presented in this report are based on the weighted data.

The distributions by country of origin among the respondents who participated in the three surveys combined were consistent with the census figures: 28 percent of the Asian respondents were Vietnamese, 25 percent were Indian or Pakistani, 26 percent were Chinese or Taiwanese, 8 percent were Filipino and 4 percent were Korean. This close correspondence with the census data strengthens confidence in the representativeness of the survey samples. The careful procedures that were followed here can be expected to provide about as accurate a picture as it is possible to obtain through scientific survey research of the experiences and perspectives of Harris County’s varied Asian communities. To further strengthen confidence in the survey findings, we engaged Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS), the Philadelphia-based research

Figure 5 — Harris County’s Asian Populations by Country of Origin, in the U.S. Census and in the Three Asian Surveys Combined 40 Vietnamese

Indians/Pakistanis

Chinese/Taiwanese

Koreans

28

28 25

PERCENT OF ASIAN POPULATION

23 20

21

19

20

17

17

10

14 10

9

9 6

26

20

14 10

Other Asians

32

32 30

Filipinos

5

8 5

4

0 Census 1990 (N=109,878) Census 2000 (N=174,626)* Census 2010 (N=253,032)* Asian Survey (1995, 2002 and 2011 combined) (N=1,506)

*These figures figures do thethe Asians whowho identified with more one race. *These donot notinclude include Asians identified with than more than one race.

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Kinder Institute for Urban Research


ETHNIC DIFFERENCES IN MIGRATION PATTERNS, AGE AND EDUCATION Through telephone interviews averaging more than 20 minutes apiece, the three expanded surveys record a rich array of information on the respondents’ life circumstances, attitudes and beliefs, as well as their socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Table 2 compares the basic background variables across Houston’s four major ethnic communities,

as recorded in the most recent (2011) survey. The differences among the populations reflect the interconnections of the two most consequential demographic trends of our time — popularly known as the “aging” and the “colorizing” (aka: the “graying” and the “browning”) of the Houston and the American populations.

Table 2— Age and Migration Patterns in Four Ethnic Communities, from the 2011 Survey

ASIANS (N=506)

ANGLOS (N=511)

BLACKS (N=503)

LATINOS (N=502)

1. How old were you on your last birthday?

18 to 29 30 to 49 50 to 93

32.1% 33.6 34.3

16.8% 37.8 45.4

22.6% 36.7 40.8

35.2% 40.7 24.2

2. For how many years have you lived in the Houston area?

9 years or less 10 to 19 years 20 to 29 years 30 years or more

24.5% 34.4 17.9 23.2

18.8% 18.4 15.8 47.1

12.6% 16.0 15.5 55.9

16.8% 27.7 22.5 33.0

3. Where did you live just before coming to the Houston area?

Born in Houston Elsewhere in Texas Elsewhere in U.S. Outside the U.S.

22.7% 10.0 30.0 37.3

33.4% 27.3 35.3 4.0

49.7% 22.8 23.3 4.1

44.2% 21.8 11.7 22.4

4. Where did you live when you were growing up (i.e., when you were 16 years old)?

Houston area Elsewhere in Texas Elsewhere in U.S. Outside the U.S.

35.1% 4.1 10.1 50.7

47.1% 19.9 30.0 3.1

63.8% 15.5 16.8 3.9

58.6% 11.9 8.9 20.6

5. Were you born in the United States?

Yes No

29.8% 70.2

94.7% 5.3

95.1% 4.9

68.2% 31.8

6. Were both of your parents born in the United States?

Yes, both of them Only one of them No, neither of them

8.1% 3.4 88.6

91.6% 2.9 5.5

91.5% 2.3 6.2

37.8% 9.3 52.9

The Houston Area Asian Survey

15


Migration Patterns in Four Communities The data recorded in Table 2 reflect the patterns of immigration that have transformed the ethnic composition of the Houston area’s population. As we have seen, this was a city primarily of Anglo migrants during all the years of the oil boom. After 1982, however, as the Anglo population stopped expanding and then declined, all the rapid growth of the Harris County population has been due to the influx of non-Anglos. The age differences among the ethnic communities reflect these new realities. More than 45 percent of all the Anglo respondents in the 2011 survey were aged 50 or older at the time of the interviews, compared to 41 percent of blacks, 34 percent of Asians and 24 percent of Latinos. At the other end of the spectrum, 35 percent of all Hispanic adults and 32 percent of the Asians were under the age of 30 at the time of the interviews, but this was the case for less than 17 percent of the Anglos. Black Houstonians are more likely than area residents of other ethnicities to have been born or raised in the Houston area: 64 percent of the African-American respondents report that they grew up in this region, compared to 59 percent of Latinos, 47 percent of Anglos, and just 35 percent of the Asians. The U.S.-born members of the two predominantly immigrant communities, however, are the most likely of all area residents to be Houston born and bred. The surveys reveal (not shown in the table) that 69 percent of all U.S.-born Asian Houstonians and 74 percent of the U.S.-born Latinos grew up in the Houston area. Hispanics, of course, were living in the Houston region well before the city was founded in 1836 (De Leon 1989). Yet almost one-third (32 percent) of all the Hispanic respondents in the 2011 survey were first-generation immigrants, having been born outside the United States. Table 2 indicates further that 21 percent of them grew up outside America and came to Houston after the age of 16. Even more striking, 70 percent of all the Asian adults in Harris County who participated in the

16

Kinder Institute for Urban Research

2011 survey were first-generation immigrants. More than half (51 percent) grew up outside the United States; and 37 percent immigrated to Houston directly from abroad, without having lived anywhere else in America. More than half (53 percent) of all Hispanics and almost nine of every ten Asians (89 percent) report that both of their parents were born outside the United States.

Age and Ethnicity in Houston As a direct consequence of these demographic changes, today’s seniors across America are predominantly Anglos. This is also the case for the 76 million American babies who were born during the remarkable postwar period of broad-based economic expansion, between 1946 and 1964. The average American male literally doubled his income in real terms during that “postwar quartercentury” (1946-1971), while the average American female in the years between 1946 and 1964 was giving birth to 3.6 children. In 2012 the leading edge of the 76 million members of the babyboom generation were now 66 years old. Over the course of the next 25 to 30 years, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will literally double. That bulging population is disproportionately composed of non-Latino whites, because it was not until 1965, after the baby boom had subsided, when for the first time in the twentieth century non-Europeans were allowed in any meaningful numbers to come to America. Younger adults, of course, are more likely than older individuals to brave the difficult immigrant journey in pursuit of better opportunities for themselves and their children. Inevitably, the younger cohorts who will replace the baby-boom generation are far more likely to be Asian, black or Latino. The “aging of America” is turning out to be a division not only by generation, but also by ethnic background. The new realities are reflected in Figure 6. The 2010 Census counted 333,487 Harris County residents who were aged 65 or older, among whom a clear majority (57 percent) were Anglos; fewer than a fifth were African Americans or Hispanics (at 17 and 19 percent, respectively), and 7 percent were Asians.


likely to be living in poverty – 80 percent of all HISD students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch programs – and these are the families that have been the least well served historically by the city’s educational institutions and its social-service delivery systems.

The median age of the Harris County population as a whole is a youthful 33.2, among the youngest of the nation’s major metropolitan areas. Of all area residents in 2010 who were aged eighteen to twenty-nine, 46 percent were Hispanics and 28 percent were Anglos. Among the more than one million children under the age of 18, more than half (51 percent) were Latinos, and less than a quarter (24 percent) were Anglos. Even more striking is the ethnic composition of the students in HISD classrooms. According to the web site of the Houston Independent School District (www. houstonisd.org), 203,066 students were enrolled during 2011-2012 in the 279 schools that comprise the district. In all these schools, in classes from kindergarten through senior year in high school, 62 percent of the students were Latinos, 25 percent were African Americans, 8 percent were nonHispanic whites and 3 percent were Asians.

Clearly, if the socioeconomic and educational disparities with Anglos and Asians are not reduced, if too many of Houston’s economically disadvantaged young people are unprepared to succeed in the high-tech, knowledge economy of the twenty-first century, it is difficult to envision a prosperous future for the region as a whole. On the other hand, if the education and income gaps can be bridged, Houston will be in a position to capitalize fully on the advantages of having a young, multi-cultural and multi-lingual workforce, able to help build the bridges to the global marketplace, and this major port city will be well positioned for competitive success in the new economy.

Almost nine of every ten children in HISD schools (87 percent) are African American and Latino. These are the two groups that are by far the most

Figure 6 — Ethnicity by Age in Harris County, from the U.S. Census of 2010 70 Anglos 60

Blacks

Hispanics

Asians/Others

57 51

50

47

46

43

PERCENT BY AGE GROUP

40 31

30

24 20

10

17

19

19

7

7

19

19

18

8

7

5

0 AGES 65+ (N=333,487)

28

27

AGES 47-64 (N=785,457)

AGES 30-46 (N=960,450)

AGES 18-29 (N=638,036)

AGES 0-17 (N=1,147,835)

The Houston Area Asian Survey

17


A Bifurcated Immigration into a Bifurcated Economy

counterparts, but much lower levels than the Anglos or Asians: 22 percent of the African-American adults in the Houston area do not have high school diplomas, and just 19 percent are college-educated.

The current immigration differs from all previous immigrant streams in American history, not only in its predominantly non-European origins, but also in its striking socioeconomic disparities. One group of immigrants (mostly from Asia and Africa) is coming to Houston and America with higher levels of educational credentials and professional skills than ever before in the history of American immigration. Another, larger group (mostly Hispanic) is arriving with major educational deficits relative to the rest of the American population.

In sharp contrast, a remarkable 59 percent of all the Houston-area Asian immigrants have college or postgraduate degrees. Only 37 percent of the U.S.-born Anglos in Harris County are collegeeducated. In the 2011 survey, the respondents who were employed were asked to describe their occupations. More than four out of ten Asian immigrants (45 percent) said they were working in professional or managerial positions and 48 percent were employed in the technical, sales, or service industries. Only 7 percent of the Asian immigrants in 2011 were working in low-skilled occupations. In contrast, fully 27 percent of all Latino immigrants were employed as construction workers, machine operators, truck drivers, or in other low-level production or service jobs.

As shown in Figure 7, fully 59 percent of all Latino immigrants in Harris County have not completed high school. Only 7 percent have college degrees. The comparable figures for Houston’s Americanborn Latinos are 26 percent without high school diplomas and 13 percent with college degrees or more. The U.S.-born African Americans have slightly higher levels of education than their Latino

FIGURE 7

Figure 7 — Distributions by Education in Five Communities, from the 2002-2012 Surveys Combined 70 Less than H.S. Some college College degree

50

Post-graduate

PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS

40

35

32

29

30 22

24

22

24

32

31 26

28 23

22

20 14 10

13

13 6

5

12

10

9

3

5

2

0 Asian Immigrants (N=976)

18

59

H.S. diploma

60

US-born Anglos (N=5,354)

Kinder Institute for Urban Research

US-born Blacks (N=5,214)

US-born Latinos (N=3,298)

Latino Immigrants (N=2,125)


The “Model Minority” Myth The success that so many Asian immigrants have achieved in America has given rise to the myth of the “model minority.” This widely held image is built on the assumption that today’s Asians are much like the European peasants who came to this country during the great “third wave” of immigration between 1890 and 1914. As was the case with these earlier immigrants, Asians are thought to have arrived in America with little money and few skills. If they have succeeded, it must therefore be solely by virtue of their hard work, high intelligence and strong family values. These assumptions are often taken as additional confirmation that America is still a land of equal opportunity for all. Hence, at least by implication if not explicitly, if blacks and Latinos have not attained equal success they have only themselves to blame. The data depicted in Figure 7 make it clear, however, that Asians have been relatively successful in Houston and America mainly because they come from families in their countries of origin whose educational and occupational attainments far exceed the average for U.S.-born Anglos. When asked in the 1995 and 2002 surveys what occupation their fathers had when they themselves were 16 years old, four out of ten Asian respondents (39 percent) said their fathers were doctors, lawyers, professors, engineers, corporate executives or other professionals. This was true for a third of the Anglos (32 percent), for 17 percent of African Americans, and 12 percent of Latinos. Only 22 percent of all the Asians in 1995 and 2002 said their fathers were employed in lowpaying production jobs or worked as agricultural or day laborers, but this was the case for 45 percent of Anglos, 63 percent of blacks and 74 percent of Latinos. The immigrants from Africa (mostly Nigeria and Ghana) have been coming to Houston and America with educational levels as high as those of the Asians. Fully one-half (51 percent) of all the African immigrants reached in the expanded Houston surveys (1994-2012) had college degrees, and 21 percent of them had postgraduate educations. Why are the immigrants from Africa and from most of Asia coming to America with levels of education and professional credentials that are so much higher than

the newcomers from Mexico, Central America or Southeast Asia? The answer, in large part, is that the restrictive immigration laws before reform in 1965 declared Asians to be “inassimilable aliens.” Asians were effectively banned from coming to this country, and Africans were never allowed before 1965 to immigrate freely. As a result, once the laws were changed, entry into America through family reunification was unavailable to these potential immigrants – although it would be the primary avenue of legal immigration for Mexican nationals. The only other ways to be eligible for preferential access after 1965 were by virtue of refugee status (e.g., the Vietnamese), by qualifying as “professionals of exceptional ability” (e.g., most of the Indians and Pakistanis, Chinese and Taiwanese, Nigerians and other Africans), or by having occupational skills that were sorely needed and in demonstrably short supply in the United States (e.g., Filipino nurses). The unprecedented socioeconomic disparities among today’s immigrant communities reflect the history of American immigration policy.

“Betty Yeh, a young girl at a classroom gathering of the Institute of Chinese Culture, Houston, Texas. May 1982.” Photographer, T. Wong. Gene & Hedy Lee Chinese language newspapers & photographs, 1976-1985 (MS 556), Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

The Houston Area Asian Survey

19


DIFFERENCES IN LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES AMONG THE ASIAN COMMUNITIES Figure 8 shows that the high levels of educational achievement among Asians in general mask important differences by country of origin. The contrasts have much to do with the different pathways to legal immigration that were available to the varied Asian communities. Thus of all the Filipinos who participated in the three Asian surveys, 64 percent were women. The data suggest that most of them were trained in American-based nursing schools in the Philippines and came here primarily under the occupational provisions of the 1965 Immigration Reform Act and the 1989 Immigration Nursing Relief Act — conspicuously for jobs as health technicians and nurses in the many Houston-area hospitals.

immigrants, the Vietnamese (60 percent of whom are males) came as refugees. They fled to this country after the fall of Saigon in 1975 as part of the largest refugee resettlement program in American history. Like most refugee communities in the United States (the Cubans in Miami are a prime example), they came in at least two waves. Most of the early arrivals were highly educated professionals, politicians, or military officers who had served in the former American-backed governments in Vietnam. Many more of the Vietnamese came here in the 1980s and 1990s with little formal education and few resources, having survived horrible conditions in refugee camps and terrifying voyages across the seas. Hence, it is not surprising to see in Figure 8 a far greater variability in educational attainment

Unlike most of the other post-1965 Asian

Figure 8 — Distributions by Education among the Four Largest Asian Communities, from the Three Surveys Combined 60 Less than H.S. 50

H.S. diploma

50

Some college College degree

40

Post-graduate

38 33 29

PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS

30

20

26

25

24 24

20 14

17 12

11 10

17

15

6 2

4

4

0 Vietnamese (N=390)

20

30

Chinese/Taiwanese (N=373)

Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Indians/Pakistanis (N=348)

Filipinos (N=108)


Clearly, many Vietnamese are having a difficult time in the Houston area, and they may be less likely to receive the help they need, in a language they can understand, from a wider community that continues to believe that all the Asians are doing fine.

among the Vietnamese than in the other Asian communities. More than 20 percent of the Vietnamese in the three Asian surveys combined do not have high school diplomas, compared to just 10 percent of all Asians in Houston. Only 30 percent of the Vietnamese have college or professional degrees, but this is the case for more than 50 percent of all the Asians. As seen in Figure 8, a remarkable 71 percent of the Indians and Pakistanis have college degrees, as do 67 percent of the Filipinos — although the Indians and the Chinese are much more likely than the Filipinos to have post-graduate degrees.

Income Differences among the Asians Because education is so critical to economic success in today’s high-technology knowledge-based economy, it is not surprising to find corresponding differences in household income among Houston’s Asian-American communities. As indicated in Figure 9, the Indians/Pakistanis report the highest incomes, with 36 percent living in households making $75,000 or more; 29 percent of the Chinese/ Taiwanese and 28 percent of Filipinos also report household incomes in excess of $75,000.

The surveys indicate further that only 12 percent of all the Asian respondents were in low-paid production or day-labor jobs; but this was the case for 26 percent of the Vietnamese. The latter were also the most likely of all the Asians to have completed the surveys in their native language rather than English, to have no health insurance, and to report that they had a problem in the past year buying the groceries they needed to feed their families.

Figure 9 — Distributions by Household Income among the Four Largest Asian Communities, from the Three Surveys Combined 40 Less than $15,000

36

$15,001-25,000 $25,001-35,000 $35,001-50,000

30

29

28 28

$50,001-75,000 More than $75,000

PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS

21 20

20

18 16 13

13

11

13

15

16 16

10

13 11

10 10 10 6

6

0 Vietnamese (N=287)

22

21

Chinese/Taiwanese (N=263)

Indians/Pakistanis (N=264)

Filipinos (N=84)

The Houston Area Asian Survey

21


The Primary Reasons for Coming to America

A clear majority of the Filipinos (56 percent) and the Indians/Pakistanis (57 percent) report incomes above $50,000, but this is true for just a third of the Vietnamese families. Among the Chinese/ Taiwanese, nearly half (45 percent) report incomes above $50,000, but more than a third (39 percent) also say their household income is less than $35,000. The Filipinos and Indians are the most educated among Houston’s Asian communities, and they are the most likely to be fluent in English, so it is not surprising that the two groups also report the highest household incomes.

The Asians have come from different backgrounds and for divergent reasons. When asked what it was that brought them or their parents to this country, Figure 10 indicates that fully 56 percent of the Vietnamese respondents said they immigrated because of political persecution, as a result of war, or in search of freedom. Only 11 percent of the Chinese gave political reasons of this sort, and virtually none of the Indians/Pakistanis or Filipinos did so.

At the other end of the spectrum, nearly one-half of all Vietnamese families (47 percent) report household incomes of less than $35,000 annually. Almost one fifth (18 percent) have annual incomes of less than $15,000. These vast socioeconomic differences should call into further question any monolithic image of all the Asians as a universally successful “model minority” in America. Large segments of the Asian population are far from prosperous.

The Filipinos said they came overwhelmingly in pursuit of work opportunities; they were also somewhat more likely than the other groups to cite marriage or family reasons for immigrating. Both the Chinese/Taiwanese and the Indians/Pakistanis gave reasons of education and work in roughly equal proportions, although the Chinese were more likely to say they came for education, and the Indians more often cited job opportunities.

Figure 10 — The Most Important Reasons Given for Immigrating to America among the Four Largest Asian Communities, from the Three Surveys Combined 70 Economic hardship, Work opportunities 60

Education

56

Relatives, Marriage

50

Other reasons 40

PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS

40

10

28 20

20

17 8

11

11

17 12 9 1

0

Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Chinese/Taiwanese (N=335)

12

6

5

Vietnamese (N=377)

22

36

35

30

20

56

War, Politics, Freedom

Indians/Pakistanis (N=335)

0 Filipinos (N=105)


Still a “Glass Ceiling”? Besides the income differences among Harris County’s Asian communities, the surveys point to something else as well. Figure 11 compares the levels of educational attainment and of household income among all the Anglo and Asian respondents in the combined 1995, 2002, and 2011 surveys. Despite levels of education that are considerably higher than those of most Anglos – 51 percent of all Asians (both immigrant and U.S.-born) have college degrees, compared to just 36 percent of the non-Hispanic whites – Asians report much lower family incomes. Only 28 percent of the Asians, compared to 36 percent of Anglos, said their total household incomes exceeded $75,000. The surveys also reveal that Asians are significantly less likely than Anglos to have health insurance (77 vs. 88 percent), to own their own homes (69 vs. 73 percent), or to live in the suburbs (46 vs. 64 percent). The differences loom even larger when family size is taken into account. More than half (53 percent) of the Asian respondents indicated

that four or more people were living in their households; just 26 percent were in households with only one or two persons. Among Anglos, in contrast, only 28 percent were in households with four or more people, and 52 percent lived alone or with just one other person. Asian Americans in Houston are as likely as Anglos to be employed in professional or managerial positions (39 and 40 percent), but they earn less and report considerably lower household incomes. Some part of this discrepancy is surely a consequence of Asians being younger and at an earlier stage in their careers, and of having arrived as immigrants with educational credentials that may be difficult to transfer into a new society. Part of the disparity may also reflect the impact of continuing discrimination. The so-called “glass ceiling,” through which Asian professionals can see the top management positions in both private and public institutions but are unable to reach them, has been documented in studies across the country (Fong 2008). Asian Americans may well face continuing structural barriers that

Figure 11 — Distributions by Education and Income among Anglos and Asians in Harris County, from the Three Surveys Combined 60

60 High school or less 50

$35,000 or less

51

Some college

$35,001 to $75,000

50

College degree 40

PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS

40

36 32

36

36

33

30

30

27

29

36

35 28

22 20

20

10

10

0

0 Anglos (N=1,459)

More than $75,000

Asians (N=1,502)

Anglos (N=1,188)

Asians (N=1,100)

The Houston Area Asian Survey

23


Ethnic Divides in Perspectives on Immigration and Intergroup Relations

prevent them from earning salaries equivalent to those that Anglos receive. In sum, any reliable analysis of the Asian-American experience needs to be contextualized. The stereotype of the “model minority” overlooks the class advantages enjoyed by the high proportion of Asian immigrants who come from upper-middleclass families in their countries of origin, and it diverts attention from continuing discrimination. It also lumps together into a single image individuals from 27 different nationalities, who speak different languages, follow different religious and cultural traditions, and came to America under contrasting circumstances, for divergent reasons, and with vastly different resources. Above all, the “model minority” myth glosses over the fact many Asian Americans are far from prosperous, and it makes it less likely that Asians in need will be offered the help that others receive.

The 31 years of the Kinder Institute’s annual Houston Area Survey have shown that positive views among area residents in general have been gradually, unevenly, but consistently increasing when respondents are asked to evaluate Houston’s burgeoning diversity and its growing immigrant populations. Not everyone, of course, is equally enthusiastic about the arrival of so many newcomers. Figure 12 illustrates the basic pattern of intergroup differences in attitudes toward immigration and ethnic diversity. Not surprisingly, Latinos (more than half of whom are themselves immigrants) and Asians (threequarters of whom are immigrants) express far more positive views toward the new immigration

Figure 12 — Distributions by Beliefs about Immigration and Ethnic Diversity among the Four Major Ethnic Communities, from the 1994-2012 Surveys Combined 100 Anglos

90

PERCENT 'AGREEING'

Asians

80 68 67

65

71

74

74 69

66

71

57 52

49 43

45

45

40

33

30

35

34

26

20 10 0 Admit more or same The increasing Against imposing number of legal immigration "mostly fines on employers immigrants in next strengthens" who hire illegal ten years. American culture. immigrants.

24

90

77

69

70

50

Latinos

78

80

60

Blacks

Kinder Institute for Urban Research

The increasing ethnic diversity brought about by immigration is a "good thing."

The increasing Immigrants diversity will contribute more to eventually become American economy source of great than they take. strength.


in general than do blacks and Anglos: 78 percent of Asians and 69 percent of Hispanics, but only 52 percent of Anglos and 43 percent of African Americans, would “like to see the U.S. admit more or the same number of legal immigrants during the next ten years as were admitted in the last ten years.” Similarly, 77 percent of Asians and 65 percent of Latinos, but just 49 percent of Anglos and 45 percent of blacks, believe that “the increasing immigration into this country today mostly strengthens (rather than ‘mostly threatens’) American culture.” Hispanics are especially concerned about the treatment of undocumented immigrants: By 57 percent to just 26 to 35 percent in the other three communities, Latinos are far more likely to reject “imposing fines and criminal charges against employers who hire illegal immigrants,” and (not shown) to be in favor of “granting illegal immigrants in the U.S. a path to legal citizenship, if they speak English and have no criminal record” (by 82 percent compared with 63 to 69 percent in the other groups).

more difficult for blacks to be hired and putting downward pressure on the salaries paid to all lowlevel production and service employees in today’s economy. Ratings of intergroup relations. In an effort to clarify further the way the different communities assess the nature of ethnic relationships in Houston, participants in all three of the expanded surveys (1995, 2002 and 2011) were asked to evaluate on a 10-point scale (where “10” means “excellent” and “1” means “very poor”) the relations that generally exist in the Houston area between their group and each of the other three major ethnic communities. Confirming the increasingly positive changes the surveys have documented in measures of ethnic relations over the years, the ratings given by the respondents from all four communities without exception grew more positive in each successive study. Figure 13 depicts the ratings given by the Asian respondents across the three surveys.

It is interesting to note that many non-Hispanic whites are particularly sensitive when issues of immigration are explicitly raised. Thus 90 percent of Asians but just 68 percent of Anglos think “the increasing ethnic diversity in Houston brought about by immigration is a good thing” rather than “a bad thing.” However, when immigration is not salient in the question wording, the gap is much smaller: 80 percent of Asians and 69 percent of Anglos agree with the more general proposition that “the increasing ethnic diversity in Houston will eventually become a source of great strength (rather than ‘a growing problem’) for the city.” Figure 12 shows further that African Americans are the most concerned about the economic impact of immigration. They are considerably less likely than the other communities to believe that “immigrants to the U.S. generally contribute more to the American economy than they take,” and they are the most likely to call for fewer new immigrants to be admitted in the decade ahead. Such views undoubtedly reflect African Americans’ far stronger feelings of vulnerability in competing for semiskilled jobs primarily with Latino immigrants. The latter are prepared to work for lower wages than most Americans would expect to earn, making it

“Chinese family on an Easter egg hunt, Chinese Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, 1982.” Photographer unknown. Gene & Hedy Lee Chinese language newspapers & photographs, 1976-1985 (MS 556), Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

*The copyright holder for this material is either unknown or unable to be found. This material is being made available by Rice University for non-profit educational use under the Fair Use Section of US Copyright Law. This digital version is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

The Houston Area Asian Survey

25


Figure 13 — The Average Ratings Given by Asians to Relations with the Three Other Ethnic Communities on the 10-Point Scale, from the Three Surveys Combined 10.00 9.00

1995

2002

2011

8.00

AVERAGE RATING IN EACH YEAR

7.00

6.43

6.77

7.22 6.24

6.00

5.80

5.72

6.12

5.19

5.00 4.00 3.00 2.00 1.00 0.00

Asian-Anglo Relations

Asian-Hispanic Relations

The Asians have been giving increasingly more positive ratings over the 16-year span of the surveys to all three relationships (Asian-Anglo, AsianHispanic, and Asian-black), and their evaluations have consistently been more positive than those of any of their non-Asian counterparts. Of all the intergroup relationships being evaluated on these scales, Anglos and Asians generally give the most positive ratings to the relations between their two communities. Asian-black relations have been the most problematic. Indeed, the lowest ratings given by any group to any of the relationships are the ones given by blacks to Asian-black relations, although these evaluations, too, have grown more positive over the years. National surveys have also found that Asian Americans are most positive about relations

26

6.26

Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Asian-Black Relations

with whites, less positive about relations with Hispanics, and most negative about relations with blacks (Pew 2012:87). The findings point to areas of tension and potential conflict within an overall generally positive and improving picture of interethnic relationships in the Houston area. It will be important to encourage the development of closer and more trusting interactions between African Americans and Asians, as well as between blacks and Latinos (which receive the next lowest ratings). Such cautionary findings should not, however, detract from the overall conclusion that area residents, including Asians and blacks, appear to be growing more comfortable over the years with their city’s burgeoning diversity.


CONTRASTS IN RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL PERSPECTIVES percent said that they had attended a religious service in the past 30 days. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of the Korean respondents (not shown here) are Protestants. By 37 and 33 percent, the Indians/Pakistanis are evenly split between Hindus and Moslems; only 13 percent are Protestants or Catholics. The Vietnamese are divided, by 35 and 45 percent, respectively, between Catholics, who (as we will see shortly) were more likely to have come in the earlier waves of immigration during the 1970s, and Buddhists, who have generally moved to America in more recent years.

Houston (and America) is turning into a microcosm not only of the world’s peoples, but also of the world’s religions. Figure 14 depicts the diversity among Houston’s Asian populations in their religious affiliations. The influx of Asian immigrants has been accompanied by a growth in the prevalence of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, as well as of the many other non-Christian religions that are rapidly taking their place along with the Protestants, Catholics and Jews who once defined the extent of religious diversity in America. As indicated in the figure, each of Houston’s largest Asian communities presents a quite different religious complexion. The Filipinos are by far the most likely of all the major Asian communities to be Catholic (at 75 percent) and to be strongly religious: 88 percent in this group asserted that religion was very important in their lives, and 71

The Chinese/Taiwanese, in contrast especially to the Filipinos, are the least likely of the major Asian communities to express strong religious commitments. When asked about their religious preference, fully 35 percent of the respondents from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong said they

Figure 14— Distributions by Religious Preference in Four Asian Communities and among all Asians, from the Three Surveys Combined 90 80

Protestant

Catholic

Hindu

Moslem

Buddhist

Other religion

75

No religion 70 60

PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS

50

45

40

35 30

30

33

25

10

9

9 2

0

13

9

8 1

22 21

21

20

Vietnamese (N=380)

37

35

1

Chinese/Taiwanese (N=364)

4

1

4

Indians/Pakistanis (N=335)

20

18

10 9 4

Filipinos (N=108)

2

All Asians (N=1,453)

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had no religious affiliation; 30 percent confirmed that religion was “not very important” in their lives; and 59 percent (compared to 47 percent of all Asians) said that they had not attended a religious service during the preceding month. Figure 14 also reveals that approximately 40 percent of all Asians in Houston have a non-Christian religious affiliation, and almost a fifth (18 percent) claim no religion. These religious orientations may well be changing in the second generation, however. Nearly two-thirds of the U.S.-born Asians report that they are either Protestant (41 percent) or Catholic (20 percent). Only a quarter identified with a non-Christian religion such as Buddhism, Hinduism or Islam. Another 14 percent of the American-born Asians claimed no religion.

Political Affiliations Respondents were asked if they would call themselves “a Republican, a Democrat, an

Independent or something else.” Those who did not give a political preference were asked if they thought of themselves as closer to the Republican or to the Democratic party. Figure 15 shows the political affiliations of Houston’s three largest Asian communities across each of the three surveys, documenting one of the few clear changes in Asian attitudes that the surveys have revealed in the course of these 16 years. In the 2011 survey, a clear majority (63 percent) of the Indian/Pakistani community self-identified as Democrats, with only 17 percent claiming to be Republican – a pattern that is largely unchanged from the earlier years. In contrast, Houston’s Vietnamese and Chinese populations were predominantly Republican in 1995, when 60 percent of both groups identified with the GOP and just 28 and 25 percent with the Democrats. By 2011, however, the proportion of Republicans had dropped significantly in the two communities to just 40 percent and 37 percent respectively,

“Jade Buddha Temple.” Southwest Houston. Photo by Megan Dillingham, January 2013.

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Figure 15 — Political Party Affiliation among Harris County’s Three Largest Asian Communities in 1995, 2002 and 2011 80

Declared or leaning Republican Declared or leaning Democrat

70

60

Independent/Don't know

60

63

60 53

50

46

44 40

PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS

40 32 30

28 24

39 35

33 27

20

25

27

26

24 24 18

15

12

20 17

10

0 1995 (N=113)

2002 (N=94)

2011 (N=85)

1995 (N=96)

Vietnamese

2002 (N=98)

2011 (N=108)

Chinese/Taiwanese

while support for the Democrats grew slightly, and increasing proportions now self-identified as Independents. Why did the general Asian tendency in 1995 to support the Republican Party wane in the ensuing years? We have seen (in Figure 10) that immigrants from Vietnam and China were more likely than other Asians to cite political persecution from communist regimes and the search for freedom and democracy as their motivation for coming to America, named by 56 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Like the Cubans in Miami, they may have been especially attracted to the Republican promise of a firmer anticommunist foreign policy. In recent years, however, anti-communism has faded in its political importance and concerns about

36

37 37

1995 (N=84)

2002 (N=96)

2011 (N=113)

Indians/Pakistanis

restrictive immigration policies, growing economic inequalities and perceived discrimination against Asian Americans have increased (Fong 2008). This may help to explain the fall-off in support for the Republican Party among these two populations. The actual votes in recent presidential elections confirm this general partisan shift. In 1992, George H. W. Bush won 55 percent of the Asian-American vote. In 1996, 48 percent of the Asian electorate voted for Bob Dole and 43 percent for Bill Clinton. The proportions reversed in 2000, when Al Gore won 54 percent of Asian support to George W. Bush’s 41 percent. The Democratic share of the Asian vote has continued to increase in every subsequent election, growing from 56 percent in 2004, to 62 percent in 2008 and to 73 percent in the

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2012 presidential election (Warren 2012). The Asian vote for President Obama was even more lop-sided than the Latino vote (at 71 percent); 93 percent of African Americans also voted for Obama. In sharp contrast, 59 percent of all non-Hispanic white voters supported Mitt Romney (The 2012 National Election Exit Polls). Figure 16 offers a plausible explanation for these ethnic differences in party affiliation by pointing to some key policy issues on which the views of Anglos differ sharply and consistently from those of the three other major ethnic communities. The differences have to do primarily with the role of government in working for economic and social justice, with the sense of community responsibility, and with the underlying belief that collective action is needed to strengthen the safety net and to moderate the inequalities generated by an unfettered free-enterprise system.

The differences in political affiliation between Anglo voters on the one hand, and blacks, Latinos and Asians on the other, follow directly from these contrasts in their policy views. Voter turnout matters enormously. According to the 2008 Current Population Survey, less than a third (32 percent) of all Asian Americans of voting age actually voted in the 2008 presidential election. The Hispanic turnout (at 32 percent) was equally dismal. Meanwhile, 65 percent of all eligible nonHispanic whites voted, as did 61 percent of African Americans. Even if nothing happens to change the low voter turnout among Asians and Latinos, the demographic transformations that are taking place across the country make it inevitable that the Anglo share of the American electorate will continue to decline in the elections to come.

Consistently across all six of these attitude items, Anglos express far stronger opposition to government initiatives than do blacks, Latinos or Asians. Only 48 percent of the Anglo respondents in the 2011 survey, for example, believed that “the government should see to it that everyone who wants to work can find a job,” but this view was held by 63 to 75 percent of the respondents from the other three ethnic communities. More than half (56 percent) of all Anglos asserted that “government regulation of business always does more harm than good,” compared to just a little over a third of the other respondents. A similar pattern prevails on questions asking whether the government is trying to do too much or should do more to solve the country’s problems, and whether or not “government has a responsibility to help reduce the inequalities between rich and poor in America.” Also consistent with the Anglo (and Republican) resistance to government intervention is the far stronger belief among non-Anglos that global warming is mainly caused by “human activities,” which can presumably be mitigated through collective action, rather than by “normal climate cycles,” which are independent of human agency. In addition, Figure 16 indicates that Anglos are significantly more likely than those from other ethnic backgrounds to support the death penalty.

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“Three Indian girls in traditional dress, Houston, Texas, ca. 1982.” Photographer unknown. Gene & Hedy Lee Chinese language newspapers & photographs, 1976-1985 (MS 556), Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.


Figure 16— Distributions on Attitudes toward the Role of Government among the Four Major Ethnic Communities, from the 2011 Survey 100 Anglos

90 80

73

70

PERCENT 'AGREEING'

Latinos

Asians

75 64

63

60 50

Blacks

56

66 61 61

61

56

52

48

71

52

59

55

54 45

40

36

39

39 34

30

32

35

20 10 0 The government should ensure that all who want to work can find a job.

Government regulation of business always doesmore harm than good.

The government should do more to solve the country's problems.

If the growing non-white populations persist in rejecting the Republican Party, the GOP’s dominance among non-Hispanic whites will not be enough to offset its losses among Asians and Latinos. Republicans will need to find new ways to appeal to these rapidly growing segments of the

Government has a of responsibility to reduce in equalities between rich and poor in America.

The high global temperatures in recent years are mainly caused by human activities.

In favor of the death penalty for persons convicted of capital murder.

Texas population if they hope to keep their hold on the statewide electorate, and Democrats will need to find ways to boost turnout if they hope to secure their advantage with the newer voters (Lizza 2012). It will be interesting to watch how these trends unfold in the years ahead.

“Hong Kong Food Market.” Bellaire Boulevard, Houston. Photo by Megan Dillingham, January 2013.

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SOME FURTHER GLIMPSES INTO THE FUTURE The Changing Waves of Vietnamese Immigration More than for any other Asian community, the dates when the Vietnamese refugees arrived in the United States are associated with important variations in their general characteristics. Table 3 presents some of the most significant differences among the several waves of immigration. Like most refugee communities, the Vietnamese came in multiple waves. The first wave, as we have seen, was far more likely than later arrivals to be members of the economic elite in war-torn Vietnam, with close ties to the U.S. military. Historian Douglas Pike (1998) characterizes this group as “urban, upper-class, well-educated, and familiar with American lifestyles.” As shown in Table 3, fully 55 percent of the Vietnamese who came before 1980 were college-educated. More than half completed the interviews in English, and they were primarily Catholic in their religious preference. The

Vietnamese who came in the 1980s and 1990s were far less likely to be college-educated or to speak English, and more likely to be Buddhists rather than Catholics. The 2011 survey reached only 20 Vietnamese who have come to America since the turn of the century, so any conclusions about this group must be treated with caution, but the data are suggestive. These most recent immigrants have even lower levels of education than those who arrived in the 1990s, but they are more fluent in English. They are less apt to be Catholics and more likely to be Protestants. Most interesting of all, the data point to the definitive ending of the repercussions of the Vietnam War. Unlike their predecessors, not a single one of these recent arrivals refer to war, politics, or the quest for freedom when asked why they came to America. Their answers are now like those of most other Asian immigrants: 86 percent said they came to this country for education or work opportunities, and the remaining 14 percent cited marriage or family reasons.

Table 3 — Selected Differences among Successive Streams of Vietnamese Immigrants, from the Three Surveys Combined DATES OF VIETNAMESE IMMIGRATION TO THE U.S. 1970-79 (N=104)

1980-89 (N=105)

1990-99 (N=105)

2000-11 (N=20)

1. What is the highest grade of school or year of college that you’ve completed?

High school or less Some college College degree

27% 18 55

43% 23 33

59% 22 19

63% 25 13

2. Language of the interview:

English Vietnamese

52% 48

43% 57

26% 74

44% 56

3. What is your religious preference, if any?

Protestant Catholic Buddhist No religion

5% 50 35 10

7% 33 50 7

7% 28 55 7

20% 20 50 10

4. What was it that led you or your parents to leave their country of origin and come to America?

Work/education War/politics/freedom Marriage/family Other reasons

15% 75 5 5

20% 60 13 7

21% 55 17 7

86% 0 14 0

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The Rise of the Second Generation

this country for more than two decades, and almost a third (31 percent) were born in the United States. It will be fascinating to watch the continuing rise of the second generation of Asian immigrants, born in this country from generally privileged backgrounds, young people who are 100-percent American yet with deep connections still to their countries of origin.

The three Asian surveys have tracked over these 16 years the coming of age of the second generation, the increasing share of the Harris County Asian population who are U.S.-born. Figure 17 shows the distributions in each of the three surveys of the Asian immigrants by the length of time they have lived in the United States, and by the percentage of Asians in each year who were American-born.

The Asian immigrants who came to Houston and America after reform in 1965 have generally come, as we have seen, with unusually impressive educational and income credentials, ones that are far superior to those of the U.S.-born, non-Latino white Americans. How successful have the Asian immigrants been, despite barriers of language and culture, in passing their privileged backgrounds on to their American-born children? Figure 18 compares the levels of education and income obtained by the foreign-born first generation of Asian immigrants and by the U.S.-born second

In the first survey (conducted in 1995), 28 percent of all the Asian respondents had lived in this country for less than ten years; just 22 percent had been here for more than 20 years, and only 10 percent were U.S.-born. Sixteen years later, by the time of the 2011 survey, those figures were dramatically different. Only 12 percent of the Asian adults who participated in the most recent survey had come to America in the past ten years, fully 35 percent had been living in

Figure 17— Distributions by Immigrant Generation and by Time in the U.S. among Harris County’s Asian Populations in 1995, 2002 and 2011 50 Asian immigrants, in the U.S. for less than 10 years Asian immigrants, in the U.S. for 10 to 19 years Asian immigrants, in the U.S. for 20 years or more U.S.-born Asians

39

40

35 32

PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS

30

28

31

28 24

22

22

20 15

10

0

12

10

1995 (N=498)

2002 (N=496)

2011 (N=489)

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Figure 18 — Distributions by Education and Income among the First and Second Generations of Asian Immigrants in Harris County, from the Three Surveys Combined 80 Asian immigrants aged 25 and older

70 58

PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS

60

U.S.-born Asians aged 25 and older

61

50 42 40 30

28

27

20 10

11

25

33

29

15

0 High school Some college College degree or less or higher Immigrants (N=997) / U.S.-born (N=132)

generation, considering only the survey participants who were aged 25 and older. The data make it clear that the second generation of U.S.-born Asian Americans is doing even better than the highly successful first generation of Asian immigrants. The American-born Asians are even more likely than the foreign-born to have graduated from college, and they are far more likely to have continued their formal education beyond high school. Despite being younger and thus at an earlier stage in their careers, the U.S.-born generation is already earning significantly higher salaries: Fully 42 percent report household incomes of more than $75,000; only 29 percent of the first-generation are in that income bracket. The first-generation Asian immigrants, reflecting their relatively high socioeconomic status, are generally proficient in English, many of them long before they set foot on this continent. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of all the foreignborn Asians who participated in the 2011 survey

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Less than $35,001 to More than $35,000 $75,000 $75,000 Immigrants (N=781) / U.S.-born (N=91)

completed the interviews in English. This was the case for just 43 percent of the foreign-born Latinos. Asians are also more likely than Latinos to be well on their way toward full assimilation into American society. More than half (51 percent) of the Latino immigrants in the most recent survey said they thought of themselves as primarily Latino rather than American, but fewer than a quarter (24 percent) of the Asian immigrants saw themselves as primarily Asian; another 57 percent thought of themselves as equally Asian and American. Asian Houstonians – in this age of transnational economies, instantaneous communications and inexpensive travel – are becoming fully American while also retaining deep connections to their country of origin. Asked about any efforts they might have made in the past year to preserve their cultural identities, the Asians were significantly more likely than Latinos (by 37 to 28 percent) to say they often participated in an Asian (or Hispanic) holiday or cultural event. By 50 to 41 percent, the Asians were also more likely than the Latino


respondents to say they had often communicated during the past year with friends or relatives in their country of origin. Building the multiethnic future. The U.S.-born Asians (by 87 to 73 percent) are more likely than first-generation immigrants to report having a close personal friend who is Anglo. Significantly, the generational differences in friendship networks are even greater with regard to the more problematic relationship between Asians and blacks: 78 percent of the American-born Asians, but only 53 percent of the first-generation Asian immigrants, said they had a close personal friend who was African-American. The Asian respondents in the 2011 survey were also asked if they had ever been involved in a romantic relationship with someone who was non-Asian: 61 percent of the U.S.-born respondents said they had, compared with only 32 percent of the Asian immigrants. In keeping with these findings, the U.S. Census reports that Asian Americans are the most likely of any major racial or ethnic group in America to live in mixed neighborhoods and to marry across racial lines: Of all the Asian newlyweds between 2008 and 2010, for example, almost three out of ten

(29 percent) had married a non-Asian (Pew 2012). Clearly, this rising group of second-generation Asian Americans will play increasingly important roles in all aspects of American life as the twenty-first century unfolds. Their parents came to America with educational and income backgrounds that were far superior to those of U.S.-born Anglos, and they have succeeded in passing those advantages on to their American-born children. The Asians in general are readily assimilating, joining the ranks of uppermiddle-class Americans and moving rapidly into leadership positions. They are also people of color, sensitive to the realities of continuing discrimination, broadening their friendship and even family networks across all the ethnic communities, and more committed than Anglos to strengthening collective efforts to expand opportunities and reduce the growing inequalities in America. For all these and other reasons, Houston’s Asian Americans will be major contributors to the efforts under way across the Houston region and throughout America to build a successful, inclusive, equitable, and united multiethnic future in the twenty-first century.

“BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.� Stafford, Texas. Photo by Jie Wu, January 2013.

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SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS The census data and survey findings reviewed in these pages offer a compelling picture of a major American metropolis in the midst of fundamental transformation. This Anglo-dominated biracial city, which was riding the most important resource of the Industrial Age to continual prosperity during most of the last century, emerged from the oilboom collapse of the mid-1980s to find itself in the midst of a restructured two-tiered, knowledgebased, fully globalized economy, and of a truly remarkable transformation in its ethnic and cultural composition. The demographic revolution. Through the first eight decades of the twentieth century, Houston’s rapid population growth was basically due to the inmigration of Anglos. By 1980, this had become the fourth largest city in America. Harris County that year was 63 percent Anglo, 16 percent Latino, and 2 percent Asian. After the oil boom collapse, the Anglo population stopped expanding and then declined. All the growth since 1982 has been due to the influx of Asians, African Americans and Latinos. In the latest census, only 33 percent of the 4.1 million people now living in Harris County were Anglos. The Houston area in 2010 was 41 percent Hispanic, 18 percent African-American and 8 percent Asian. Fort Bend County, just to the South and West of Harris County, is now the single most ethnically diverse county in the nation. In the 2010 Census, Fort Bend was 19 percent Asian, 24 percent Latino, 21 percent black and 36 percent Anglo. The Houston region as a whole is the most ethnically and culturally diverse large metropolitan area in the country, at the forefront of the new diversity that is radically reconstructing the social and political landscape across all of urban America. The United States is in rapid transition from having been an amalgam almost exclusively of European nationalities into becoming a microcosm of all the peoples of the world. Nowhere is this transformation more clearly seen or more sharply articulated than in Houston, Texas. The new stream of American immigration began in 1965, after reform of the notoriously restrictive laws

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that sought to limit immigration predominantly to northwestern Europeans. The current wave differs from all previous immigrant streams in American history, not only in its predominantly non-European origins, but also in its striking socioeconomic disparities. One group of immigrants (mainly from India, China, and Africa) is coming to Houston and America with higher levels of educational credentials and professional skills than ever before in the history of immigration to this country. Another, larger group (mostly from Mexico and Central America) is arriving with striking educational deficits into the new two-tiered economy, where these immigrants are generally confined to low-paying, dead-end, production and service-sector jobs. Fully 59 percent of all the Latino immigrants in Harris County have not completed high school; only 7 percent have college degrees. In sharp contrast, 59 percent of the foreign-born Asian immigrants have college or postgraduate degrees; these are far higher levels of educational achievement than among the U.S.-born Anglo adults in Harris County, only 37 percent of whom have college degrees. Researchers at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research have been conducting the annual “Houston Area Survey” for 31 years (1982-2012). In all but one of the years since 1994, the basic random surveys of Harris County residents have been expanded to reach large representative samples, numbering 500 each, from the county’s Anglo, black and Latino populations. In 1995, 2002 and 2011, the researchers were able to include equally large representative samples of the region’s varied Asian communities, with one-fourth of the interviews being conducted in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin or Korean. Presented in the Appendix of this report, organized by central themes, are most of the questions asked in the 2011 survey on which there were statistically significant and substantively important differences in the responses given by the Asians, Anglos, African Americans and Latinos who participated in this research.


“Chinese dragon dancer lifting dragon mask over his head, ca. 1982.” Photographer unknown. Gene & Hedy Lee Chinese language newspapers & photographs, 1976-1985 (MS 556), Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

The 2010 Census counted 280,341 residents of Harris County (6.9 percent of the county’s 4.1 million inhabitants) who identified as “Asian” on the census form. The Vietnamese (at 29 percent) are the largest Asian community in the county, then the Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis (18 percent), and the Asians from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong (16 percent). These were followed by the Filipinos (8 percent) and Koreans (4 percent); the rest have come in relatively small numbers from the many other countries and cultures of Asia. The distributions by country of origin in the Houston surveys closely correspond with the census data, strengthening confidence in the representativeness of the Asian samples.

Immigration patterns and socioeconomic status. This report draws on the three Asian surveys spanning 16 years (1995-2011) to assess the distinctiveness of the Asian experience in comparison with Harris County’s Anglos, blacks and Latinos. One of the most significant consequences of the ongoing demographic revolution can be seen in the relationship between ethnicity and age. Across the country, and particularly in Houston, older residents are disproportionately Anglo, whereas the younger cohorts are predominantly Asian, Latino and African-American. These age distinctions will become even more evident as the 76 million baby boomers, born in

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this country between 1946 and 1964, move into retirement – they were aged 48 to 66 in 2012. That bulging population is disproportionately composed of non-Hispanic whites: It was not until 1965 that for the first time in the twentieth century nonEuropeans were allowed in any meaningful numbers to come to America. The younger cohorts who will replace the baby-boom generation are predominantly Asian, Latino or African-American. Nowhere is that relationship with age more clearly seen than in Harris County. The “aging of America” is a division not only by generation, but also by ethnic background and by socioeconomic status. Among all the 203,000 students in HISD classrooms, 87 percent are either Latino or black, the two groups that are overwhelmingly the most likely to be living in poverty. Clearly, if this community’s “minority” young people are unprepared to succeed in the knowledge economy of the twenty-first century, it is hard to envision a prosperous future for the region as a whole. If, however, appropriate action is taken soon to improve the educational outcomes, this youthful, multiethnic port city will be well positioned to prosper in the global economy of the twenty-first century. Much will depend on the way this generation addresses these issues. The “model minority” myth, which purports to explain the success that Asians have achieved in America, overlooks the great many Asian immigrants who come from families in their countries of origin whose educational and occupational attainments far exceed the average for native-born Anglo-Americans. It also diverts attention from continuing discrimination. And it lumps together in a single stereotype the professionals from India, Taiwan and the Philippines who came to America under the occupational provisions of the Immigration Reform Act of 1965, and the poverty-stricken refugees fleeing persecution in Southeast Asia or rural China. Contrasts among the Asian communities. The three surveys (conducted in 1995, 2002 and 2011), have reached large representative samples of respondents from all of Houston’s Asian communities. The data make it clear that the various Asian nationalities differ importantly in their education and economic

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backgrounds and in the circumstances of their coming to America: 56 percent of the Filipinos cited economic and work opportunities as their primary reasons for immigrating to America, but 56 percent of the Vietnamese said they came to this country because of war and politics, or the search for freedom. Unlike virtually all other Asian immigrants, who are professionals or entrepreneurs, the Vietnamese made their way to this country primarily as refugees after the fall of Saigon in 1975. The early arrivals were generally highly educated professionals, members of the economic and political elite in war-torn Vietnam. The recent arrivals have far lower levels of education, income, and English fluency. These more impoverished refugees have joined a vibrant, heterogeneous Vietnamese community, which provides them with significant social support, but they are also facing far more difficult challenges than the majority of other Asians in Houston. They may be less likely to receive the help they need, in a language they can understand, from a wider community that continues to believe that all Asians fit the “model minority” stereotype and are doing fine. Despite levels of education that are much higher on average than those of most Anglos, the Asians generally report lower household incomes. Part of this discrepancy is due to being younger and having arrived as immigrants with educational credentials that may be difficult to transfer into a new society. Part of it may also reflect the impact of continuing discrimination (the so-called “glass ceiling”) that may make it more difficult for Asians to reach the top management positions in the American economy. The surveys reveal consistent differences among Harris County’s four major ethnic communities in their assessments of immigration and ethnic relations in the Houston region. Latinos and Asians express far more favorable views of the new immigration than do Anglos and blacks. Hispanics are the most concerned about the treatment of undocumented immigrants. Blacks are the most worried about the economic impact of the new immigration. Despite such concerns, perspectives on immigration and on ethnic relations in general have improved consistently among all groups over the


years of the surveys. When asked to rate their relationships with the other ethnic communities, Asians are generally most positive about relations with whites, less positive about relations with Hispanics, and most negative about relations with blacks. The lowest ratings given by any group to any of the relationships are the ones given by blacks to Asian-black relations. These findings point to important areas of tension and potential conflict, but they should not detract from the overall conclusion that area residents from all communities are growing increasingly comfortable with their city’s burgeoning diversity. Religious and political perspectives. Houston’s Asian communities differ importantly in their religious affiliations. The Filipinos, overwhelmingly Catholic, are the most likely to be church attenders and to say that religion is very important in their lives. The Indians and Pakistanis are generally either Hindus or Moslems, the Vietnamese either Catholics or Buddhists. The immigrants from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are less likely than other Asians to be members of any religious community, and they are the least likely to have recently attended a religious service. The various Asian communities also differ importantly in their political affiliations. In the 1995 survey, the Filipinos, Vietnamese and Chinese were far more likely to express a preference for Republicans over Democrats, whereas the Indians and Pakistanis were more likely to identify with the Democratic Party. In the years since then, the former groups became more likely to see themselves as Democrats or Independents. Anti-communism has faded in its political importance, while concerns about restrictive immigration policies, the growing economic inequalities and perceived discrimination against Asian Americans have increased. Asians share with Latinos and African Americans a high level of support for government initiatives designed to enhance economic and social justice, in the belief that collective action is needed to strengthen the safety net and to moderate the inequalities generated by an unfettered freeenterprise system. On all such issues, Anglos differ sharply from the other three ethnic communities,

and this may help to explain Anglos’ far stronger identification with the Republican Party. The ability of Republicans to broaden their appeal to Asians and Latinos and of Democrats to boost turnout among those same rapidly growing groups will do much to determine the political positioning of Harris County and the state of Texas during the years ahead. Some further glimpses into the future. As we have seen, the first wave of Vietnamese immigrants in the 1970s largely comprised members of the elite in the American-backed governments of South Vietnam – highly educated, English-speaking, predominantly Catholic. The immigrants who came in the 1980s and 1990s were less educated, with little fluency in English, and predominantly Buddhist. Almost all said they came to America primarily because of the repercussions of the war or for democracy and freedom. In sharp contrast, not a single one of those who arrived since the year 2000 mentioned the war or its aftermath as a reason for immigrating. Like the vast majority of other Asian immigrants, these most recent Vietnamese immigrants said they came to this country primarily in search of education or work. The 1995 survey found that just 10 percent of Harris County’s Asian adults (aged 18 and older) had been born in the United States. The number of Americanborn Asians grew to 15 percent in the 2002 survey and to 31 percent in 2011. Compared to firstgeneration Asian immigrants, the U.S.-born Asians are even more likely to be college-educated and are earning higher incomes. They are also more likely to have close personal friends who are Anglo or black, and to say that they have been involved in a romantic relationship with someone who was non-Asian. Clearly, this rising group of second-generation Asian Americans will play increasingly important roles in all aspects of American life as the new century unfolds. As upper-middle-class professionals, moving rapidly into leadership positions, who are also people of color, they will contribute importantly to the many efforts currently under way to build a truly successful, inclusive, equitable, and united multiethnic future for the Houston region and beyond.

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REFERENCES Bullard, Robert D. 1987. Invisible Houston: The Black Experience in Boom and Bust. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University. De Leon, Arnoldo. 1989. Ethnicity in the Sunbelt: A History of Mexican Americans in Houston. Houston, TX: University of Houston Mexican American Studies Program. Emerson, Michael O., Jenifer Bratter, Junia Howell, P. Wilner Jeanty and Mike Cline. 2012. Houston Region Grows More Racially/Ethnically Diverse, With Small Declines in Segregation – A Joint Report Analyzing Census Data from 1990, 2000, and 2010. http://tinyurl.com/b9mwv82 Fallows, James. 1985. “Houston: A permanent boomtown.” The Atlantic, July: 16-28. Feagin, Joe R. 1988. Free Enterprise City: Houston in Political and Economic Perspective. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Fong, Timothy P. 2008. The Contemporary Asian American Experience: Beyond the Model Minority, 3d. ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Gryn, Thomas and Christine Gambino. 2012. The Foreign Born From Asia: 2011 — American Community Survey Briefs. U.S. Census Bureau, October. Klineberg, Stephen L. 2002. Houston’s Economic and Demographic Transformations: Findings from the Expanded 2002 Survey of Houston’s Ethnic Communities. Houston, TX: Rice University Publication. Lizza, Ryan. 2012. “The Party Next Time.” The New Yorker, November 19, pp. 50-57. The 2012 National Election Exit Polls conducted by Edison Research for the National Election Pool. The New York Times, 2012. http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/results/president/exit-polls Pew Research Center. 2012. The Rise of Asian Americans, July 12. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org Pike, Douglas E. 1998. Viet Kieu in the United States: Political and Economic Activity, Lubbock: Texas Tech University Publications. Thomas, Robert D. and Richard W. Murray. 1991. Progrowth Politics: Change and Governance in Houston. Berkeley, CA: Institute of Governmental Studies Press. Waldinger, Roger, ed. 2001. Strangers at the Gates: New Immigrants in Urban America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Warren, Michael. 2012. “Why Romney Lost the ‘Asian Vote’.” The Weekly Standard, December: Vol. 18 (No. 12). Zhou, Min and Carl L. Bankston III. 1998. Growing Up American: How Vietnamese Children Adapt to Life in the United States. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

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APPENDIX Distributions of Responses among the Four Ethnic Communities on Selected Items from the Kinder Institute’s 2011 Houston Area Survey The 30th annual “Houston Area Survey” was conducted between February 17 and May 10, 2011. The interviews for the basic random sample of 752 Harris County residents were completed on March 9. These were followed by the “oversample” interviews in Houston’s four major ethnic communities: Using identical random-selection procedures and terminating after the first few questions if the respondent was not of the ethnicity required, these additional interviews were conducted to enlarge and equalize the samples of Asian, Anglo, AfricanAmerican and Hispanic respondents at about 500 each. Presented here are most of the survey questions on which there were statistically significant and substantively important differences in the responses given by Harris County’s four major ethnic communities. The items listed below are organized by central themes, not by the order of their appearance in the actual questionnaire. The responses in each of the four groups are based on the weighted data. Note also that the percentages in the columns may not add up to 100 percent because the “Don’t Knows” and “Can’t Says” are generally not included.

Economic Assessments

What  would  you  say  is  the  biggest     problem  facing  people  in  the  Houston     area  today?     How  would  you  rate  job  opportunities,     in  terms  of  living  in  the  Houston  area?   Would  you  say  …    

If  you  work  hard  in  this  city,  eventually     you  will  succeed.  

When  you  look  ahead  to  the  next  few     years,  do  you  tend  to  believe  that  the   country  is  headed  for  …     Do  you  think  young  people  in  America     today  will  eventually  have  …  standard  of   living  than  do  adult  Americans  today?  

How  concerned  are  you  about  the  effects     of  air  pollution  on  your  family’s  health?  

Traffic   Intergroup  relations   Economy   Crime   Other  Concerns     Poor   Fair   Good   Excellent     Disagree   Agree     More  difficult  times   Better  times  

A  lower  standard   About  the  same   A  higher  standard     Not  very  concerned    Somewhat  concerned   Very  concerned  

Asians (N=506)     23.3%   2.0%   38.7%   18.7%   10.7%     17.8%   39.5%   31.6%   5.9%     10.5%   87.5%     58.6%   34.9%     27.2%   27.8%   37.7%     19.9%   39.7%   39.1%  

Anglos (N=511)     24.1%   6.8%   31.1%   19.0%   14.0%     13.2%   30.7%   38.7%   11.3%     11.2%   86.0%     64.8%   32.2%     40.7%   29.0%   27.5%     31.4%   39.4%   28.3%  

Blacks (N=503)     15.4%   1.5%   48.2%   19.7%   12.0%     38.7%   37.7%   16.7%   3.8%     18.5%   80.0%     54.4%   42.6%     28.6%   28.9%   38.1%     12.6%   33.1%   52.6%  

Hispanics (N=502)     16.0%   2.3%   42.7%   18.6%   16.0%     33.1%   38.6%   23.0%   3.6%     9.0%   89.2%     61.8%   35.0%     24.6%   29.7%   41.5%     15.2%   34.9%   48.8%  

The Houston Area Asian Survey

41


Poverty Issues

Do  you  think  that  most  poor  people     in  the  U.S.  today  are  poor  because  …  

Do  you  think  we’re  now  spending  …  on   improving  the  conditions  of  the  poor?  

Do  you  think  we’re  now  spending  …  on     aid  to  the  poor  countries  of  the  world?  

Asians (N=506)  

Don't  work  hard  enough   28.9%   Circumstances  they   65.8%   can't  control       Too  little   45.7%   About  right  amount   34.4%   Too  much   11.3%       Too  little   17.2%   About  right  amount   35.1%   Too  much   37.1%  

Anglos (N=511)   27.1%   66.8%  

Blacks (N=503)   15.4%   81.0%  

Hispanics (N=502)   23.9%   72.9%  

52.1%   26.4%   14.1%     12.6%   26.5%   54.7%  

75.9%   14.4%   5.1%     27.8%   24.9%   41.4%  

62.1%   24.1%   6.6%     22.7%   29.0%   39.2%  

Anglos (N=511)  

Blacks (N=503)  

Hispanics (N=502)  

Interethnic Relationships

How   would   you   rate   the  proor   elations       Do  you   think   that   most   people   in  the  Ue.S.   today   are  pioor   because   …     among   thnic   groups   n  the   Houston   area?  Would  you  say  …       you  think  we’re  now  spending  …  on   Do   improving   the  sccale,   onditions   f  the  ypou   oor?   On  a  10-­‐point   how  woould   rate   the  relations  that  generally  exist  between    Asians  and  Anglos  in  the  Houston  area?     you  think  we’re  now  spending  …  on     Do   aid  ato   he  poor  sccale,   ountries   of  ould   the  w orld?   On    1t0-­‐point   how  w you   rate     the  relations  that  generally  exist  between   Asians  and  blacks  in  the  Houston  area?     On  a  10-­‐point  scale,  how  would  you  rate     the  relations  that  generally  exist  between   Asians  and  Latinos  in  the  Houston  area?     On  a  10-­‐point  scale,  how  would  you  rate     the  relations  that  generally  exist  between   Anglos  and  blacks  in  the  Houston  area?     On  a  10-­‐point  scale,  how  would  you  rate    the  relations  that  generally  exist  between   Anglos  and  Latinos  in  the  Houston  area?     On  a  10-­‐point  scale,  how  would  you  rate     the  relations  that  generally  exist  between   blacks  and  Latinos  in  the  Houston  area?     Would  you  say  that  you  generally  feel  …     to  [R's  ethnicity]  than  to  people  from     other  ethnic  backgrounds?  

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Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Poor   Don't  work  hard  enough   Fair   Circumstances  they   Good   can't  control    Excellent    Too  little   Low   (1-­‐5)   About   right  amount   Medium   (6-­‐7)   Too  much    High  (8-­‐10)     Too   little   Low  (1-­‐5)   About   right  amount   Medium   (6-­‐7)   Too   much   High  (8-­‐10)     Low  (1-­‐5)   Medium  (6-­‐7)   High  (8-­‐10)     Low  (1-­‐5)   Medium  (6-­‐7)   High  (8-­‐10)     Low  (1-­‐5)   Medium  (6-­‐7)   High  (8-­‐10)     Low  (1-­‐5)   Medium  (6-­‐7)   High  (8-­‐10)     Not  closer  at  all   Only  a  little  closer   Much  closer  

Asians (N=506)   9.9%   28.9%   36.8%   65.8%   39.5%   7.9%     45.7%     22.3%   34.4%   31.8%   11.3%   45.9%     17.2%     39.9%   35.1%   36.2%   37.1%   23.9%     38.1%   35.3%   26.6%                             20.0%   41.3%   37.3%  

11.5% 27.1%   36.1%   66.8%   43.1%   4.7%     52.1%     16.3%   26.4%   36.2%   14.1%   47.5%     12.6%     26.5%     54.7%                 36.5%   37.2%   26.2%     32.0%   40.0%   28.1%             31.8%   45.4%   19.1%  

18.3% 15.4%   45.8%   81.0%   30.6%   2.3%     75.9%     14.4%     5.1%       27.8%     50.1%   24.9%   33.9%   41.4%   15.9%             38.8%   36.8%   24.4%             33.5%   26.6%   39.9%     25.5%   42.1%   30.4%  

14.5% 23.9%   40.8%   72.9%   35.8%   5.1%     62.1%     24.1%     6.6%       22.7%     29.0%     39.2%         41.1%   29.1%   29.8%             27.7%   33.0%   39.3%     39.7%   30.5%   29.8%     28.0%   40.8%   29.8%  


Interethnic Relationships (continued)

Black  people  in  the  U.S.  are  still  a  long     way  from  having  the  same  chance  in     life  that  white  people  have.     Do  you  have  a  close  personal  friend     who  is  Anglo?     Do  you  have  a  close  personal  friend     who  is  Black?     Do  you  have  a  close  personal  friend     who  is  Hispanic?     Do  you  have  a  close  personal  friend     who  is  Asian?     How  often  have  you  personally     felt  discriminated  against  in     Houston  because  of  your  ethnicity?    Would  you  say  …  

How  often  in  general  are  [R's  ethnicity]   discriminated  against  in  Houston?     Would  you  say  …     Have  you  ever  been  in  a  romantic   relationship  with  someone  who  was     not  [R’s  ethnicity]?     If  a  close  relative  of  yours  wanted  to     marry  a  non-­‐[R's  ethnicity],  would  you   approve  or  disapprove?  

Perspectives on Immigration

 Do  you  think  that  most  poor  people     in  the   Ut.S.   today   poor  because   Do   you   hink   the  aire   ncreasing   ethnic  …   diversity  in  Houston  brought  about  by    immigration  is  a  good  thing  or  a  bad  thing?     Do  you  think  we’re  now  spending  …  on   In   next  10  ythe   ears,   should  the   .S.  paoor?   dmit   improving   conditions   of  U the   more,  the  same  number,  or  fewer  legal   immigrants  as  were  admitted  in  the  last      10  years?    Do  you  think  we’re  now  spending  …  on     aid  to  tthe   he  increasing   poor  countries   of  the  wiorld?   Does   immigration   nto  this   country  today  mostly  strengthen  or  mostly   threaten  American  culture?      

What  about  a  law  that  would  deny     health  and  welfare  services  to  illegal  

Disagree   Agree  

No   Yes     No   Yes     No   Yes     No   Yes     Never   Rarely   Fairly  often   Very  often     Never   Rarely   Fairly  often   Very  often     No   Yes  

Disapprove   Ethnicity  makes  no   difference  (vol.)   Approve    

 Don't  work  hard  enough   Circumstances   A   bad  thing   they   can't   control   A   good   thing       Too  little   Fewer   About  right  amount   About   same  number   Too  much   More      Too  little   About  rtight   amount   Mostly   hreatens   Too   m uch   Mostly  strengthens  

 

Against  it   For  it  

Asians (N=506)   55.0%   32.5%  

17.2%   82.8%     32.5%   67.5%     28.5%   71.5%     3.3%   96.7%     33.8%   43.7%   14.6%   6.0%     10.0%   46.7%   28.7%   7.3%     58.4%   40.9%     3.3%   7.3%  

28.9%   65.8%   15.9%   74.8%       45.7%   27.3%   34.4%   41.3%   11.3%   22.0%     17.2%     35.1%   31.6%   37.1%   57.9%  

Asians (N=506)     40.4%   48.3%  

73.1% 23.3%  

Blacks (N=503)   43.3%   52.3%  

Hispanics (N=502)   62.5%   30.4%  

0.9%   98.1%     19.1%   80.6%     11.6%   88.0%     38.7%   61.0%     55.6%   31.6%   7.4%   4.4%     21.4%   45.1%   19.9%   7.5%     54.2%   45.1%  

25.9%   73.6%     4.9%   94.9%     24.9%   74.9%     59.9%   39.8%     27.0%   32.9%   26.5%   13.1%     4.2%   20.1%   48.2%   21.9%     56.4%   43.3%  

17.5%   82.5%     24.4%   75.6%     3.4%   96.6%     49.9%   50.1%     35.9%   38.8%   15.2%   8.6%     5.6%   28.4%   39.2%   22.6%     50.1%   49.6%  

81.9%

6.0%   12.1%  

87.3%

Asians (N=506)  

Anglos (N=511)  

79.5%

4.2%   7.8%  

87.2%

5.1%   11.1%  

Anglos (N=511)  

Blacks (N=503)  

Hispanics (N=502)  

27.1%   66.8%   30.8%   55.1%       52.1%   38.1%   26.4%   39.7%   14.1%   15.3%     12.6%     26.5%   49.6%   54.7%   41.9%  

15.4%   81.0%   26.9%   57.2%       75.9%   49.0%   14.4%   32.6%   5.1%   11.5%     27.8%     24.9%   49.2%   41.4%   39.7%  

23.9%   72.9%   27.2%   63.3%       62.1%   29.0%   24.1%   40.7%   6.6%   18.9%     22.7%     29.0%   33.8%   39.2%   52.3%  

    Anglos   Blacks   Hispanics   (N=511)   (N=503)   (N=502)       The Houston Area Asian Survey 4  3 34.4%   50.4%   61.0%   59.5%   43.7%   34.7%  


In next  10  years,  should  the  U.S.  admit   Fewer   more,  the  same  number,  or  fewer  legal   About  same  number   immigrants  as  were  admitted  in  the  last  10   More   years?       Does  the  increasing  immigration  into  this   Mostly  threatens   country  today  mostly  strengthen  or  mostly   Mostly  strengthens   threaten   American   culture?   Perspectives on Immigration (continued)        

  What  about  a  law  that  would  deny     Against  it   health  and  welfare  services  to  illegal   For  it   immigrants  in  Texas?     What  about  imposing  fines  and  criminal   Against  it    charges  against  employers  in  this  com-­‐    F   or  it   munity   ho  htire   llegal  immigrants?   Do   you  twhink   he  iincreasing   ethnic   A  bad  thing    diversity  in  Houston  brought  about  by    A  good  thing   immigration   What  about  g  ranting  illegal  immigrants     Against  it   is    good   hing  coitizenship,   r  a  bad  thing?   a  paath   to  ltegal   if  they  speak   For  it    English  and  have  no  criminal  record?      In  next  10  years,  should  the  U.S.  admit    Fewer   Should  the   the  same   local  npumber,   olice  take   n  active     Active   ole  for   police   more,   or  faewer   legal   About  srame   number   role  in  identifying   undocumented   immigrants   as  were   admitted  in  the  last  10   More   Leave  to  federal   immigrants,  or  should  that  be  left     years?   authorities    mainly  to  the  federal  authorities?     Does  the  increasing  immigration  into  this   Mostly  threatens   country  today  mostly  strengthen  or  mostly   Mostly  strengthens   threaten   merican  culture?   Crime,AHealth, Volunteering           What   bout  a  alaw   ould  deny       How  waorried   re  ythat   ou  pwersonally   that   health   welfare   to  illegal   you  or  and    member   of  syervices   our  family   will     immigrants   Texas?   become  the  vin   ictim   of  a  crime?    Would  you  say  …   What  about  imposing  fines  and  criminal    charges  against  employers  in  this  com-­‐   What  about   dieath   penalty   for     munity   who  thhe   ire   llegal   immigrants?    persons  convicted  of  capital  murder?    What  about  granting  illegal  immigrants     a   path  atbout   o  legal   itizenship,   if  they   peak   What   a  tcrue   life  sentence   wsith-­‐   English   nd  have  noo  f  cpriminal   out  the  paossibility   arole,  ars  ecord?   an      alternative  to  the  death  penalty?    Should  the  local  police  take  an  active     role   in  identifying   ndocumented   In  general,   would  yuou   say  that     immigrants,   r  should   that  bthese   e  left       your  overall  ostate   of  health   mainly   the  federal   days  is  eto   xcellent,   very  aguthorities?   ood,  good,     fair,  or  poor?  

Do  you  know  of  anyone  among  your     friends  or  family  who  is  living  in  a  house-­‐   hold  where  there  is  domestic  violence?     During  the  past  twelve  months,  did     you  personally  contribute  any  of     your  time  to  a  volunteer  activity?  

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Kinder Institute for Urban Research

  Against   it   at  all   Not  worried   For   Not  ivt  ery  worried   Somewhat  worried   Very  worried   Against  it      For  it   Against  it    For  it     Against   it   Against   For   it   it   For  it       Active   role  for  police   Poor   to  federal   Leave   Fair   authorities   Good   Very  good   Excellent     No   Yes     No   Yes  

38.1% 39.7%   15.3%  

27.3% 41.3%   22.0%  

31.6%   57.9%    

49.6%   41.9%  

Asians (N=506)     40.4%   48.3%  

Anglos (N=511)     34.4%   59.5%  

31.6%   57.9%  

49.6%   41.9%  

32.4% 66.9%     15.9%   74.8%     31.6%   61.2%     27.3%     38.4%   41.3%   51.7%   22.0%  

49.3%   50.7%  

24.1% 71.5%     30.8%   55.1%     34.0%   62.9%     38.1%     57.2%   39.7%   36.3%   15.3%  

Asians   (N=506)     40.4%   15.9%   48.3%   26.5%   38.4%   18.5%   32.4%     66.9%   31.1%   54.3%     31.6%     37.7%   61.2%   49.0%     38.4%     3.3%   51.7%   9.2%   33.6%   32.2%   21.1%     88.8%   9.2%  

49.0% 32.6%   11.5%  

Anglos (N=511)     34.4%   10.5%   59.5%   33.0%   39.4%   16.6%   24.1%     71.5%   20.2%   71.0%     34.0%     40.0%   62.9%   52.0%     57.2%     5.1%   36.3%   11.4%   30.7%   31.4%   21.4%     88.3%   11.3%     42.5%   57.3%  

49.2%   39.7%  

29.0% 40.7%   18.9%  

33.8%   52.3%     Hispanics   (N=502)     61.0%   34.7%  

49.2%   39.7%  

33.8%   52.3%  

58.1% 37.4%     27.2%   63.3%     14.6%   82.9%     29.0%     22.8%   40.7%   73.7%   18.9%  

32.6% 64.1%     26.9%   57.2%     28.2%   66.4%     49.0%     42.6%   32.6%   50.5%   11.5%  

Blacks (N=503)     50.4%   43.7%  

Blacks (N=503)     50.4%   15.2%   43.7%   29.0%   31.4%   22.6%   32.6%     64.1%   43.7%   45.2%     28.2%     23.1%   66.4%   69.0%     42.6%     7.7%   50.5%   16.5%   35.0%   21.6%   19.3%     82.5%   16.7%     57.9%   41.8%  

Hispanics   (N=502)       61.0%   14.6%   34.7%   23.9%   29.8%   30.6%   58.1%     37.4%   34.6%   59.2%     14.6%     33.0%   82.9%   62.0%     22.8%     2.1%   73.7%   18.5%   32.8%   30.2%   16.4%     84.7%   13.7%     55.5%   43.8%  


In next  10  years,  should  the  U.S.  admit   Fewer   more,  the  same  number,  or  fewer  legal   About  same  number   immigrants  as  were  admitted  in  the  last  10   More   years?       Does  the  increasing  immigration  into  this   Mostly  threatens   country  today  mostly  strengthen  or  mostly   Mostly  strengthens   threaten   American   ulture?   Religious and cPolitical Orientations             What  is  your  religious  preference,  if  any?   Protestant      Catholic   Other  religion   What  ias  bout   your  ar  leligious   preference,   Protestant   aw  that  w ould  deny  i  f  any?   Against   it   No  rieligion   health  and  welfare  services  to  illegal   Catholic   For   t    immigrants  in  Texas?   Other  religion     No  religion   What   about  imposing  fines  and  criminal   Against   it       charges  against  employers  in  this  com-­‐     F or   i t   How  important  would  you     Not  very  important   munity  who  hire  illegal  immigrants?   say   important       religion  is  in  your  life?      Somewhat   Would   you  say  …w   ould  you     Very   i mportant   How   i mportant   Not   v ery   i mportant   What  about  granting  illegal  immigrants     Against  it    say    Somewhat   religion   is  icn   your  life?  if  they  speak   important   a  path   to  legal   itizenship,   For  it   Would   shay   …  no  csriminal   Actual   word  of  God   Which  oyaf  ou   these   three   tatements     English   nd   ave   record?   Very  important      comes  closest  to  describing  your        Inspired  word  of  God   feelings  the   about   the   Bible?   Should   l ocal   p olice   t ake   a n   a ctive     Active   for   Book   orw f  ole   lord   egends   Which  of  these  three  statements     Actual   of  pGolice   od   role  in  cidentifying   undocumented   t o   f ederal    comes    Leave   losest  to  describing   your     Inspired  word  of  God   immigrants,   or  tshe   hould   tdhat   e  left   feelings   about   ible?   authorities   In  the  past   thirty   dBays,   id  ybou       No   Book  of  legends   mainly   t o   t he   f ederal   a uthorities?    attend  a  religious  service,  other      Yes   than  a  wedding  or  funeral?   In  the  past  thirty  days,  did  you     No       attend  a  religious  service,  other     Yes   Republican  Party   Computed   variable:   Declared  or     than   a  wedding   or  funeral?   closer   t o   t he   R epublican   P arty   o r      Democratic  Party   to  the  Democratic  Party?   Independent,   D.K.   Computed  variable:  Declared  or     Republican  Party    closer  to  the  Republican  Party  or    Democratic  Party   to   Dtemocratic   Party?  as     Conservative   Do  tyhe   ou   hink  of  yourself   Independent,  D.K.    conservative,  moderate,  or          Moderate   Do   you  itn  hink   the   increasing  ethnic   A  bad  thing   liberal   your   politics?   Liberal   Do   you  think   f  yourself   as     about  by   Conservative   diversity   in  Hoouston   brought   A  good  thing    conservative,     m oderate,   o r     Moderate   immigration     liberal   i n   y our   p olitics?   No   Right   now,   are  yoou   Liberal   is   a  good   thing   r  a  rbegistered,   ad  thing?      so  that  you  can  vote  in  local  and      Not  yet,  but  will  be   national   if  you  w ant   to?   Yes   In   next   1e0  lections   yaears,   should   the   U.S.   Fewer   Right   now,   re  you   registered,     admit   No   more,   same   umber,   or  faewer   that  the   you   can  vnote   in  local   nd     legal    so    About   same   number   Not  yet,   but  w ill  be   immigrants   as   ere   dmitted   national   elections   if  nyaow   ou   w ant  tin   o?  the   little   Do  you  think   ww e're   spending   …  loast   n     10   Too   More   Yes   years?    the  military,  armaments,  and  defense?    About  right  amount       uch   Do  you  think  we're  now  spending  …  on     Too  m little   Does  the  increasing  immigration  into  this   Mostly  threatens   the  military,  armaments,  and  defense?   About   amount   country  today  mostly  strengthen  or  mostly   Mostly  rsight   trengthens   Too   m uch   threaten   A merican   c ulture?   Government Activism        

What   ias  bout   your  ar  leligious   preference,   i  f  any?   The   government   see  to   it  that   aw  sthould   hat  w ould   deny   everyone   ww ho   wants   to  work   find     health  and   elfare   services   to  cian   llegal   a   job.       immigrants   in  Texas?     What  about  imposing  fines  and  criminal    Government  regulation  of  business     charges  daoes   gainst   employers   in  gthis   com-­‐   always   more   harm  than   ood.   munity   w ho   h ire   i llegal   i mmigrants?         Is   government  trying   to   do    too  many     How   would   you   What  important   aobout   granting   llegal   mmigrants   things   r  should   it  do  im ore  tio   solve       say   religion   is  icn   your  life?  if  they  speak   a  path   to  legal   itizenship,   our   country’s   problems?   Would  you  say  …    English  and  have  no  criminal  record?       Government  has  a  responsibility  to     Should   he   local   pnequalities   olice   take  abn   active       Which   otf   these   statements     help   reduce   the  tihree   etween   role   i n   i dentifying   u ndocumented   comes   c losest   t o   d escribing   y our     rich  and  poor  in  America.   immigrants,   or  tshe   hould   that  be  left     feelings  about   Bible?   mainly   t o   t he   f ederal   a uthorities?   What  do  you  believe  is  the  primary      What   do  you  believe  is  the  primary     cause  of  the  high  global  temperatures     cause   the   high  gdlobal   emperatures     In  the  opf  ast   thirty   ays,  dtid   you     we’ve  experienced  in  recent  years?   we’ve   in  recent   years?   attend  eaxperienced    religious  service,   other     than  a  wedding  or  funeral?     Computed  variable:  Declared  or     closer  to  the  Republican  Party  or  

38.1% 39.7%   15.3%  

27.3% 41.3%   22.0%  

31.6%   57.9%   Asians     25.5%   (N=506)   16.3%     35.9%   25.5%   40.4%   16.3%   16.3%   48.3%   Asians   35.9%   (N=506)   16.3%   32.4%     Asians   66.9%   15.2%   (N=506)   29.1%       50.3%   15.2%   31.6%   29.1%     61.2%   23.2%   50.3%   38.4%       38.4%   10.6%   23.2%   51.7%   38.4%     45.0%   10.6%   51.0%     45.0%     51.0%   31.1%   33.8%     35.1%   31.1%   33.8%     27.6%   35.1%     34.9%     15.9%   21.7%   27.6%   74.8%   34.9%     12.5%   21.7%   7.8%       79.7%   27.3%   12.5%   41.3%   7.8%     15.9%   22.0%   79.7%   27.2%       45.7%   15.9%   31.6%   27.2%   57.9%   45.7%  

49.6%   41.9%  

Anglos   62.4%   (N=511)   16.9%     4.8%   62.4%   34.4%   14.1%   16.9%   59.5%   Anglos   4.8%   (N=511)   14.1%   24.1%     Anglos   71.5%   17.0%   (N=511)   23.1%       56.8%   17.0%   34.0%   23.1%     62.9%   39.1%   56.8%   42.1%       57.2%   10.7%   39.1%   36.3%   42.1%     45.6%   10.7%   52.3%     45.6%     52.3%   58.2%   20.3%     21.4%   58.2%   20.3%     47.4%   21.4%     32.5%     30.8%   11.9%   47.4%   55.1%   32.5%     8.8%   11.9%   36.4%       54.9%   38.1%   8.8%   39.7%   36.4%     34.1%   15.3%   54.9%   34.8%       25.0%   34.1%   49.6%   34.8%   41.9%   25.0%  

49.0% 32.6%   11.5%  

49.2%   39.7%  

Blacks   85.9%   (N=503)   6.7%     1.3%   85.9%   50.4%   3.1%   6.7%   43.7%   Blacks   1.3%   (N=503)   3.1%   32.6%     Blacks   64.1%   2.8%   (N=503)   11.0%       84.9%   2.8%   28.2%   11.0%   66.4%     59.6%   84.9%   35.2%       42.6%   2.6%   59.6%   50.5%   35.2%     29.0%   2.6%   70.8%     29.0%     70.8%   9.8%   69.4%     20.8%   9.8%   69.4%     37.6%   20.8%     27.4%     26.9%   20.5%   37.6%   57.2%   27.4%     9.0%   20.5%   54.3%     36.7%   49.0%   9.0%   32.6%   54.3%     26.7%   11.5%   36.7%   29.0%       34.4%   26.7%   49.2%   29.0%   39.7%   34.4%  

29.0% 40.7%   18.9%  

33.8%   52.3%    

Hispanics   28.5%   (N=502)   60.2%     0.8%   28.5%   61.0%   8.2%   60.2%   34.7%   Hispanics   0.8%   (N=502)   8.2%   58.1%     Hispanics   37.4%   11.2%   (N=502)   23.8%       62.7%   11.2%   14.6%   23.8%     82.9%   41.1%   62.7%   40.4%       22.8%   9.4%   41.1%   73.7%   40.4%     40.6%   9.4%   57.0%     40.6%     57.0%   22.2%   39.8%     30.8%   22.2%   39.8%     40.2%   30.8%     25.0%     27.2%   21.1%   40.2%   63.3%   25.0%     23.4%   21.1%   45.6%       30.4%   29.0%   23.4%   40.7%   45.6%     22.6%   18.9%   30.4%   33.0%       36.3%   22.6%   33.8%   33.0%   52.3%   36.3%  

      Asians   Anglos   Blacks   Hispanics   (N=506)   (N=511)   (N=503)   (N=502)                     Protestant   25.5%   62.4%   85.9%   28.5%   Disagree   33.8%   49.5%   24.9%   22.7%   Against  it   40.4%   34.4%   50.4%   61.0%   Catholic   16.3%   16.9%   6.7%   60.2%   Agree   62.9%   47.9%   73.0%   75.2%   For  it   48.3%   59.5%   43.7%   34.7%   Other  religion   35.9%   4.8%   1.3%   0.8%    No  religion   16.3%     14.1%     3.1%     8.2%     Against  it   32.4%   24.1%   32.6%   58.1%   Disagree   47.0%   38.0%   50.1%   43.9%   Asians   Anglos   Blacks   Hispanics    A For   it   66.9%   71.5%   64.1%   37.4%   gree   33.8%   55.9%   35.7%   39.0%   (N=506)   (N=511)   (N=503)   (N=502)                                 Doing   too  important   much   39.5%   62.2%   30.5%   33.9%   Not   v ery   15.2%   17.0%   2.8%   11.2%   Against  it   31.6%   34.0%   28.2%   14.6%   Should   do  m ore   52.0%   31.8%   63.6%   61.0%   Somewhat   important   29.1%   23.1%   11.0%   23.8%   For  it   61.2%   62.9%   66.4%   82.9%   Very   i mportant   50.3%   56.8%   84.9%   62.7%                               Disagree   33.8%   57.8%   32.1%   29.5%     Active   r ole   f or   p olice   38.4%   57.2%   42.6%   22.8%   Actual  word  of  God   23.2%   39.1%   59.6%   41.1%   Agree   55.6%   38.7%   61.2%   60.7%   Leave   to  fwederal   51.7%   36.3%   50.5%   73.7%   Inspired   ord  of  God   38.4%   42.1%   35.2%   40.4%   authorities   Book  of  legends   10.6%   10.7%   2.6%   9.4%   Human   activities   66.4%   35.4%   52.4%   54.8%     Human   activities              66.4%                35.4%                52.4%                54.8%     Normal   climate  cycles   38.7%   59.1%                     41.4%   38.8%   No   45.0%   45.6%   29.0%   40.6%   Normal   climate  cycles   38.7%                       41.4%   38.8%   Yes   51.0%   52.3%   70.8%   57.0%     Republican  Party  

31.1%  

The Houston Area Asian   Survey

58.2%

9.8%

45

22.2%


Assimilation Measures

(If  R  is  Hispanic  or  Asian:)  Do  you  think     of  yourself  as  primarily  [Hispanic/Asian],    equally  [Hispanic/Asian]  and  American,   or  pyrimarily   merican?   Do   ou  think  Athe   increasing  ethnic   diversity  in  Houston  brought  about  by     immigration     How   often   during   past   year  did     is  a  good   thing   or  athe    bad   thing?   you   p articipate   i n   a n   [ R’s   e thnicity]       holiday  or  cultural  event?   In  next  10  years,  should  the  U.S.  admit    more,  the  same  number,  or  fewer  legal   immigrants   s  were   admitted   in  dtid   he     last  10   How   often  dauring   the   past  year   years?   you   communicate  with  friends  or      relatives  in  your  country  of  origin?   Does  the  increasing  immigration  into  this   country  today  mostly  strengthen  or  mostly   threaten   American  culture?   Socioeconomic Status    

the  haighest   grade   of     deny     What  ais  bout    law  that   would   health   welfare   services   to   school  aond   r  year   of  college   that     illegal   immigrants   in  Texas?   you’ve  completed?     What  about  imposing  fines  and  criminal   charges  against  employers  in  this  com-­‐    munity  who  hire  illegal  immigrants?    (If  R  is  working:)  What  type  of  work     do  you   do?  W hat  is  your   job  icmmigrants   alled?   What   about   granting   illegal     a  path  to  legal  citizenship,  if  they  speak    English  and  have  no  criminal  record?    Please  stop  me  when  I  reach  the     Should   the   local   police  ytake   n  active     category   that   includes   our  atotal   role  in  identifying  undocumented   household  income  in  [1994/2001/2010];     immigrants,  or  should  that  be  left     that  is,  tthe   income   for  aauthorities?   ll  members  of   mainly   o  the   federal   the  household  during  the  past  year  …     Do  you  and  your  family  currently     have  any  health  insurance?     Do  you  live  in  the  City  of  Houston     or  in  the  suburbs?     Do  you  own  or  rent  the  place     where  you  live?     Do  you  have  access  to  the  Internet     in  your  home  or  place  of  work?     (If  R  has  a  child  living  at  home:)  How     serious  a  problem  has  it  been  for  you   personally  in  the  past  year  to  buy  the   groceries  you  need  to  feed  your  family?  

46

Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Primarily  ethnic   Equally  ethnic  and    American   A   bad  thing   Primarily   American    A  good  thing   Never    Sometimes   Often   Fewer    About  same  number   Never   More   Sometimes    Often   Mostly  threatens   Mostly  strengthens      

Asians (N=506)   19.3%   54.7%     15.9%   24.0%   74.8%    

22.7% 36.0%     37.3%   27.3%   41.3%     17.2%   22.0%   27.2%   50.3%     31.6%   57.9%  

Asians (N=506)         Less  than   4.6%   Against   it   HS   40.4%   HS  dit  iploma   17.2%   For   48.3%   Some  college   23.8%   College  degree   33.1%   Against  it   32.4%   Postgraduate   21.2%    For  it   66.9%       7.3%    Production/Laborers     Technical/Sales/Service   51.2%   Against   it   31.6%   Professionals/Managers   41.5%   For   it   61.2%        Less  than  $15,000     5.5%   Active   role   police   38.4%   $15,001   to  f$or   25,000   4.7%   Leave   t o   f ederal   51.7%   $25,001  to  $35,000   4.7%   authorities   $35,001  to  $50,000   10.2%   $50,001  to  $75,000   13.3%   More  than  $75,000   25.0%       No   21.9%   Yes   77.5%       In  the  city   41.1%   In  the  suburbs   58.3%       Own   75.7%   Rent   19.7%       No   5.3%   Yes   94.0%       Not  much  of  a  problem   85.7%   Somewhat  serious   10.7%   Very  serious   1.8%  

Anglos (N=511)         30.8%     55.1%    

    38.1%     39.7%     15.3%           49.6%   41.9%   Anglos   (N=511)     6.9%   34.4%   21.2%   59.5%   34.1%   24.2%   24.1%   13.2%   71.5%     18.9%     43.5%   34.0%   37.6%   62.9%       3.9%   57.2%   6.8%   36.3%   7.3%   7.7%   12.9%   39.7%     13.0%   86.3%     27.4%   71.7%     73.8%   24.2%     8.8%   91.2%     87.4%   8.8%   1.5%  

Blacks (N=503)         26.9%     57.2%    

39.2% 28.3%     27.0%   49.0%   32.6%     34.6%   11.5%   10.9%   46.4%     49.2%   39.7%   Blacks   (N=503)     24.4%   50.4%   24.1%   43.7%   32.1%   12.8%   32.6%   5.6%   64.1%     20.7%     48.4%   28.2%   31.0%   66.4%       11.7%   42.6%   14.1%   50.5%   8.5%   9.1%   13.8%   14.1%        23.7%   76.1%     62.1%   36.9%     45.0%   52.7%     27.4%   72.3%     75.1%   16.6%   7.7%  

Hispanics (N=502)   26.0%   45.1%     27.2%   26.8%   63.3%    

33.3% 34.0%     27.9%   29.0%   40.7%     27.4%   18.9%   28.1%   40.7%     33.8%   52.3%    

Hispanics   (N=502)       30.2%   61.0%   31.7%   34.7%   23.1%   10.5%   58.1%   4.0%   37.4%     21.7%     55.0%   14.6%   23.3%   82.9%       7.3%   22.8%   13.5%   73.7%   11.2%   11.0%   13.6%   15.6%     29.4%   69.4%     59.4%   39.7%     57.6%   38.4%     23.6%   75.5%     70.4%   16.2%   10.7%  


MISSION: Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research conducts scientific research, sponsors educational programs, and engages in public outreach that advances understanding of pressing urban issues and fosters the development of more humane and sustainable cities.


Rice University, MS 208 | Lovett Hall, Suite 402 | 6100 S. Main, Houston, TX 77005 www.kinder.rice.edu | kinder@rice.edu

2013 houston area asian survey highlights  
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