it’s funny how sometimes seemingly contradictory information comes out almost simultaneously. in this case the issue is whether asians are taking over or leaving.
a few days ago, slashdot pointed to a story about how many skilled immigrants (primarily east and south asians) are heading home and potentially producing a brain drain.
Despite the fact that they constitute only 12% of the U.S. population, immigrants have started 52% of Silicon Valley’s technology companies and contributed to more than 25% of our global patents. They make up 24% of the U.S. science and engineering workforce holding bachelor’s degrees and 47% of science and engineering workers who have PhDs. Immigrants have co-founded firms such as Google (GOOG), Intel (INTC), eBay (EBAY), and Yahoo! (YHOO).
these aren’t old fogies going back to retire in asia. these are young professionals with full careers ahead that are leaving.
The average age was 30 for Indian returnees, and 33 for Chinese. They were highly educated, with degrees in management, technology, or science. Fifty-one percent of the Chinese held master’s degrees and 41% had PhDs. Sixty-six percent of the Indians held a master’s and 12.1% had PhDs. They were at very top of the educational distribution for these highly educated immigrant groups—precisely the kind of people who make the greatest contribution to the U.S. economy and to business and job growth.
this doesn’t bode well for a desperately needed economic recovery. the problem gets worse b/c of visa issues that many of them face. on the other hand, slanteye points to new census info saying aa’s are the fastest growing ethnic group in america.
as of 2007, there were 15.2 million Asians in the United States. Percentage growth of the Asian population between 2006 and 2007, the highest of any race group during that time period. Asian Americans were also the most educated, according to the report. Among Asians over 25 years old, 50 percent have a Bachelor’s degree, compared with only 28 percent of the total U.S. population. About 20 percent of Asian Americans hold Master’s degrees, which is twice of the national average. Among all Asian Ameicans, Indians have the highest education and income level. Nearly 70 percent of Indians in the United States have Bachelor’s degrees and the average annual income of Indian families is $83,820.
which is leading to hilarious counterreactions like this:
I grew up in this area my whole life and you asian fucks come here and use your fucking opium money to buy our land, build a million fucking wedding shops and refuse to put signs up in ENGLISH! FUCK YOU! … If you DON’T LIKE US THEN MOVE BACK TO YOUR FUCKING HOMELAND!
which is kinda ironic since that’s exactly what they’re doing. obviously the census data isn’t taking into account events of the past year, but this phenomenon isn’t necessarily limited to immigrants and isn’t necessarily a short term economic thing. amongst many of my asian american friends, there’s a feeling that moving to asia and becoming an expat is a valid, and maybe even preferred, move for career and/or personal reasons.
the upshot may be that asians do both. many skilled asians could end up leaving and prolonging the economic downturn. and the ones that stay? well they may end up “taking over” as it were. haha.
interestingly, tom friedman suggested one path to dramatically shortening the downturn would be to ask asian immigrants to help out.
“All you need to do is grant visas to two million Indians, Chinese and Koreans,” said Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express newspaper. “We will buy up all the subprime homes. We will work 18 hours a day to pay for them. We will immediately improve your savings rate — no Indian bank today has more than 2 percent nonperforming loans because not paying your mortgage is considered shameful here. And we will start new companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans.”
that’s laughably stereotypical, but it’s also change i could believe in.