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Socioeconomic Status and Poverty of Second Generation Korean Americans

Hyun Song Lee 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study surveys the socioeconomic status and poverty of second generation Korean Americans by using the American Community Survey 2010-14 dataset. The poverty rate is lower among 2nd generation Korean Americans than among Whites. In contrast to either Whites or 2nd generation Chinese Americans, more women and those of older than 55 are found poor among 2nd generation Koreans. The absolute majority of poor 2nd generation Koreans live as never married single. Poor 2nd generation Koreans are much highly educated than are poor Whites, not to mention poor 2nd generation Chinese. There are very few poor native Koreans of less than high school graduate, which is contrasted to the one forth of poor Whites being less than high school graduate. In contrast to Whites, much higher proportion of poor 2nd generation Koreans are ‘working poor.’ While income gap is quite large among 1st generation Koreans, the gap is much smaller among 2nd generation Koreans, which is even smaller compared to the income gap of either Whites or 2nd generation Chinese. A set of logit-regression analyses with chance of poverty as the dependent variable indicate that the odds of being poor is significantly larger among 2nd generation Koreans than among either Whites or 2nd generation Chinese. Particularly, the effect of education on lowering the risk of being poor is significantly smaller among 2nd generation Koreans than among Whites. It is not certain why American-born Koreans are more likely to be poor then are Whites with identical level of education, The authors suspect that the American society may not discriminate the highly educated 2nd generation Koreans, but that it does discriminate the 2nd generation Koreans when being lower in education compared to their co-ethnics. The America-born Koreans not commensurate to the image of “model minority” have to struggle under double disadvantages in the American society.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.