Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC Berkeley

The Second Generation Story of Hmong Americans


Research on the second generation of post 1965 immigrants has largely explained the integration of these youth into American society as an issue of human capital and ethnicity. The emphasis on ethnicity as strategy for upward mobility, such as maintaining ethnic attachment, employing "the best of both worlds", or assimilating into a multicultural mainstream, downplays the tension girls experience within the immigrant culture, and simplifies the forces of racialization that make the boys susceptible to downward assimilation. Based on surveys and interviews with Hmong youth (ages 13-18) from Sacramento, California, my study of second generation Hmong Americans extends this research to show how gender and ethnicity matter for incorporation. My findings point to different integration pathways for boys and girls, with the girls having a more promising pathway with higher levels of academic achievement and lower levels of involvement with risky behaviors than the boys. The girls experience unpleasant and difficult experiences within the ethnic culture despite having positive outcomes; whereas, the boys face more overt discrimination and hostility in mainstream society that make them susceptible to downward assimilation despite their attachment to the ethnic culture and community. This study contributes knowledge about second generation Hmong Americans, who constitute the growing population of Southeast Asian refugee children in the United States.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View