Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Wayne J. Villemez


This study was designed to examine the existence of differential returns to social and demographic characteristics on occupational status among whites and Asian American males aged 25-64 years old. The human capital, assimilation and segmented labor market theories of occupational attainment provided framework for investigating the occupational differentials of each of the six major groups of Asian Americans with whites. Using data drawn from the one-percent sample of the 1980 census, Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS), it was found that Asian Americans are economically assimilated. Findings attesting to this fact are as follows: first, the occupational distribution of the Asian Americans shows a high concentration on the white collar occupations rather than blue collar occupations; second, the occupational distribution of the majority of Asian Americans is very similar to that of whites; and third, results of the regression analyses show that returns to the sociodemographic characteristics between whites and the majority of the Asian groups are very similar especially in education and in core/periphery characteristics. But despite these similarities with whites and thus obvious assimilation of Asian Americans there were notable systematic differences found among cohort groups within sub-Asian groups in the rate of assimilation into the majority socioeconomic system. For example, a high degree of structural assimilation was observed among the following cohort groups: foreign born Asian Indians, native born Chinese, the before 1965 cohort group of Koreans and those Japanese who came after 1965.