Race, ethnicity, and the incorporation experiences of Hmong American young adults: insights from a mixed-method, longitudinal study

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Through the lens of racialized incorporation, this paper draws upon three decades of surveys and interviews to analyze the initial experiences of young adult Hmong migrants in the United States. The first part describes the aspirations and understandings of these young adults as adolescents (circa 1989–1994). Early in resettlement, they, like their parents, stressed education and mobility; however, in contrast to traditional assimilation theory and model minority stereotypes, their aspirations were oriented toward family, traditions, and ethnic identification. The second section (2002–2007) documents how they came to embrace a distinctive bicultural identity during the transition to adulthood even as they became increasingly aware of its tenuousness, the constraints of racism, and their own complicated place in American racial hierarchies. Focused on ethnic identity and the complexity of racialization, the Hmong case provides the foundation for theorizing varied patterns of incorporation and the value of multi-method, life-course approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1217
Number of pages21
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 17 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data for this analysis came from the Youth Development Study which was supported by grants, “Work Experience and Mental Health: A Panel Study of Youth”, from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD044138) and the National Institute of Mental Health (MH42843). Additional support was provided by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota, and the John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the views of the sponsors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Asian Americans
  • Hmong Americans
  • Racialized incorporation
  • immigration
  • race/racism
  • refugee resettlement

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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