Have Asian American Men Achieved Labor Market Parity with White Men? Academic Article uri icon


  • We use the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates to investigate earnings differentials between white and Asian American men. We extend prior literature by disaggregating Asian Americans by their immigration status in relation to the U.S. educational system, and by accounting for the effects of field of study and college type. Net of the latter variables and other demographic controls, native-born Asian American men have 8 percent lower earnings than do measurably comparable white men. Our findings show that Asian American men who were schooled entirely overseas have substantial earnings disadvantages, while Asian American men who obtained their highest degree in the United States but completed high school overseas have an intermediate earnings disadvantage. Net of the control variables, including region of residence, only 1.5-generation Asian American men appear to have reached full parity with whites. Most Asian American men lag at least slightly behind white men in terms of full equality in the labor market net of the measured covariates in our statistical models. No one theoretical approach seems able to explain our findings; instead, we suggest the relevance of several perspectives, including the racialized hierarchy view, the demographic heterogeneity approach, and assimilation theory.

published proceedings

  • American Sociological Review

altmetric score

  • 160.712

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, C., & Sakamoto, A.

citation count

  • 73

complete list of authors

  • Kim, ChangHwan||Sakamoto, Arthur

publication date

  • December 2010