It has long been understood that some groups do better than others when it comes to achieving the American dream. Underserved, underprivileged groups are often discussed but what about those rising to the top? If you thought that second and third generation European Americans comprise the bulk of the highest income tax bracket, think again. The American Dream might only be available in some colors but you might be surprised at who the most upwardly mobile are.
The median income in the United States is currently hovering around $50,000 for all groups. Indian Americans, however, are making nearly double that with a median income of around $90,000. Part of this gap may be explained by education level. Approximately 28 percent of all Americans have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Among Indian Americans, however, 71 percent of the population hold a bachelor’s or higher.
Nearly 75 percent of the Indian American population is married, compared to around 50 percent of the total population. 92 percent of Indian American parents are married and live together. A mere 2 percent of Indian American babies are born out of wedlock. In contrast, nearly half of all American children are born to unwed mothers.
Iranian Americans are also some of the top achievers in terms of income and education. One in three Iranian American families have incomes that top $100,000 per year,compared with one out of every five American families. Approximately 21.5 percent of Iranian Americans own businesses.
In fact, Arab Americans are exceptionally high earners. Lebanese immigrants are the world’s most successful group of immigrants. Lebanese Americans earn an average of $67,264 and have triple the education level of the average American.
And it’s not just the Arab and Indian population that is finding success within the United States. More than 73 percent of Taiwanese Americans have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The Nigerian American population also takes the award as one of the most educated groups of immigrants.
While Nigerians don’t even make up one percent of the black population with the U.S., nearly 25 percent of Harvard Business School’s black students are Nigerian. More than 25 percent of Nigerian Americans have a graduate or professional degree, compared to 11 percent of the white American population.
Jewish Americans also have an exceptionally high success rates. While they make up only two percent of the U.S. population, Jewish Americans represent more than 30 percent of the Supreme Court and over a third of all Nobel laureates from the United States.
While some immigrants arrive in the U.S. with high skill and education levels and pass along those advantages to their children, many do not. Almost half of all Chinese and Indian immigrants arrive without a formal education and minimal relevant job skills.
More than half of all Indian Americans believe that they will be more successful than their parents. Compared to their counterparts in India, where fewer than 30% believe in the possibility of a generational move up the socio-economic ladder, Indian Americans are far more optimistic about their future. While the American Dream may seem like a fleeting notion for many, a great number of these immigrants seem to be able to make it a reality.
By Nicci Mende
New York International