Old and New Asian Americans

Asians who have immigrated to the United States since time immemorial are referred as Asian Americans. There are two phases in which the immigrations took place for Asian Americans since the nineteen century. The first phase was then referred to as old Asian Americans and they immigrated up to 1965. The second phase took place after 1965 and usually referred to post-1965 Asian Americans. The other important fact about Asian Americans is that they are made up of a lot ethnic categories. There was need for simplification which led to the putting together of all the ethnic Asian categories who immigrated to United States as Asian Americans (Marger, 2008).


The old and new Asian Americans have several differences from which we begin their discussions. The first difference is that old Asians belong to the first phase of immigration that happened from mid nineteenth century to early twentieth century that is exactly before 1965. On the other hand, the new Asian Americans belong to the second phase of immigration which occurred from 1965 onwards to date. The reason for the separating year being 1965 is because the immigration laws were adjusted to allow easy migration to United States. This is a major difference that between the two categories of Asian Americans (Marger, 2008).

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The other difference between the two groups is the policies that applied on their immigration. During the old Asian American times, the laws of immigration were too stringent which did not allow entry to United States. However, in the second phase of post-1965 Asian Americans, the United States rules on immigration had been changed which resulted in mass immigrations. The new Asian Americans lead in the rate of immigration to the United States in post-1965 period (Marger, 2008).

Furthermore, the old age immigrants were few and mainly Chinese and Japanese with a few Koreans and Filipinos. These old Asian Americans were the first to immigrate to America. On the other hand post-1965 immigration was fully blown to include all categories of Asians from all available categories. That is when all of the groups were lumped and referred to as Asian Americans. Thus the old phase was categorized by few Asians but the new phase was made of several individuals (Marger, 2008).

Moreover, another difference arises from their classes of origin. The old Asian Americans belonged to low class population. However, the new Asian Americans belonged to the middle and high class levels. Thus the second category is characterized by immigrations involving people who have their own means to travel and settle without any assistance but the old age characterized poor Asians of low means (Marger, 2008).

The other differentiating element is the nature of occupation as well as education. The old Asian Americans had low education and were hired to work on menial jobs in construction and agricultural sectors. On the other hand, the new Asian Americans were of high educations and were being employed as professional such as doctors and managers. This means that some new Asian Americans immigrated as expatriates to America. This further created the difference in aspect of income level where the new Asian Americans had high income earnings as compared to lowly paid old Asian Americans (Marger, 2008). The changed law in 1965 encouraged immigration of people of high education which increased the difference (Min, 2006)

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In addition, another noticeable separation between the two groups was the gender difference. The old Asian American population consisted of mostly single men. This is because they were only allowed for labor purposes and as such no families were allowed because the men only were capable of doing menial jobs. The few female population that existed immigrated as wives for the American soldiers and a few Japanese women allowed after gentleman agreement in 1907-1908. However, the new Asian Americans consisted of families and thus a balanced gender of immigration. The resulting difference out of the gender imbalance is that the growth rate associated with old Asians was low as compared to that of new Asian Americans who had relaxed immigration rules and able to procreate freely. This is the reason why population increase was different for the two phases (Marger, 2008).

The fact that Japanese were the only ones who had wives in old Asian period explains why most Japanese were natives in the old Asian American period. This is because out of the gentleman agreement in 1907-1908, the Japanese were allowed with their wives and some Japanese were born natives of America. Thus more of the Japanese population in America before 1965 were natives but afterwards dominated by immigrants in the second phase (Marger, 2008).

Although it appears that there was a lot of difference between the two groups, there were similarities also. The first among them is that they were all immigrants to the United States and the difference only being their timing of immigration. Thus both old and new Asian Americans do not have their origins in the United States (Marger, 2008).

In addition, the other common element about the two Asian American phases is that both went to the United States in search of opportunities. Although there was difference in the nature of the jobs they were seeking, it remains that both groups wanted to improve their status by going to the United States. Out of this similarity, we also discover that another common element in Asians is their hard work. The old and new Asian Americans worked very hard in their duties and resulted in others going back to develop their countries and others setting family businesses in the United States (Marger, 2008).

The other similarity among the two phases of Asian Americans is that they have particularly different cultures for different ethnic groups which are applicable. The ways at which a particular ethnic group conducts its cultures are similar to that done by similar group in the old generation. Although some have been interfered with the natives of America, they would be found teaching their children about their languages and culture (Min, 2006)

The other similarity between old and new Asian Americans is their settlement patterns in the United States. The first phase settled mainly in California, Hawaii and other West Coast states and the second phase followed the similar pattern to settle at the West in huge populations. Although wide spread settlement has occurred, the highest population is still concentrated at the West (Min, 2006).

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The other similarity of the two phases of Asian American groups is the rate of separation or singlehood. Most marriages would not last long and divorce is among both the groups. The old Asians were separated from their wives due to the nature of the immigration rules but the new Asian Americans have been getting married only to get nationality status at the United States then separate. Thus it has become a common phenomenon for most of them to be single (Ng, 1998).


The immigration process of the Asians has been leading in the United States and its population has risen to a whole time high. As time goes by and socialization taking place it may become difficult to differentiate between the old and the new Asian American population because of the influence of the United States. However, history will remain that the two phases of immigration to the United States took place for Asian Americans.

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