One-in-five Asian American adults say they have hidden a part of their heritage – cultural customs, food, clothing or religious practices – from non-Asians at some point in their lives. Fear of ridicule and a desire to fit in are common reasons they give for doing this, according to a Pew Research Center survey of Asian adults in the United States conducted from July 2022 to January 2023.
Birthplace and immigrant roots play a role in who is most likely to hide their heritage: 32% of U.S.-born Asian adults have done this, compared with 15% of immigrants. Among those born in the U.S., second-generation Asian adults (in other words, those with at least one immigrant parent) are more likely than third- or higher-generation Asian Americans (those with U.S.-born parents) to have hidden their culture from non-Asians (38% vs. 11%).
Second-generation Asian Americans make up 34% of the U.S. Asian population, at approximately 7.9 million people, according to a Center analysis of the 2022 Current Population Survey. The majority of this group (66%) is under age 30. And according to our survey, they also primarily speak English.
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