Model minority

A model minority is a minority group (whether based on ethnicity, race or religion) whose members are perceived to achieve a higher degree of socioeconomic success than the population average. This success is typically measured in income, education, low crime rates and high family stability. The term is controversial, as it is sometimes used to suggest there is no need for government action to reduce discrimination.

In addition, the term may be used to describe minorities who achieve stability and socioeconomic status through acquiescing to stereotypes which oppress a large minority group, though they are conspicuously absent from prominent leadership roles, even as they attain upper middle class socioeconomic status.

In the United States, the term was coined to describe Japanese Americans, although it has evolved to become associated with American Jews and Asian Americans,[1][2] but more specifically with East Asians (Chinese, Japanese and Korean)[3] and the South Asian community (such as the Indian community).[4] The concept of a model minority has faced backlash from the Asian American community. According to Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, "the misperception that Asian Americans are doing fine on their own has serious policy implications...politicians won't talk about our community's needs if they assume people don't require assistance." According to the Washington Post, since the 1960s, "the idea that Asian Americans are distinct among minority groups and immune to the challenges faced by other people of color is a particularly sensitive issue for the community, which has recently fought to reclaim its place in social justice conversations with movements like #ModelMinorityMutiny."[5]

In the Netherlands, the comparable status is primarily associated with Indo people (Mixed Dutch and Indonesian heritage), also known as Indies Dutchmen or Dutch Indonesians. They are the largest minority group in the country.[6][7][8] In Germany, Korean Germans and Vietnamese Germans are considered model minorities, with the latter being considered Das vietnamesische Wunder ("The Vietnamese Miracle"), which is associated with the academic success of Vietnamese Germans in Germany.[9] In France, French Vietnamese and French Laotians are regarded as model minorities by French media and politics due to their high level of integration and success rate in academics and household income.[10][11]

In Israel, Christian Arabs are one of the most educated groups in Israel. Maariv have describe the Christian Arab sectors as "the most successful in education system",[12] since Christian Arabs fared the best in terms of education in comparison to any other group receiving an education in Israel.[13] and they have attained a bachelor's degree and academic degree more than the median Israeli population.[13]

Generalized statistics are often cited to back up model minority status such as high educational achievement and a high representation in white collar professions. A common misconception is that the affected communities usually hold pride in their labeling as the model minority. The model minority stereotype is considered detrimental to relevant minority communities because it is used to justify the exclusion of minorities in the distribution of assistance programs, both public and private, as well as to understate or slight the achievements of individuals within that minority. Furthermore, the idea of the model minority pits minority groups against each other by implying that non-model groups are at fault for falling short of the model minority level of achievement and assimilation.

The model minority label relies on the aggregation of success indicators, which in the case of immigrants from Asia may hide the plight of recent first-generation immigrants under the high success rate of more established Asian communities. While communities of Asian Americans who have been in the US for 3-4 generations are generally wealthier, many immigrant communities of Asian Americans experience poverty.[14]:2[15]


In January 1966, the term "model minority" was coined in The New York Times magazine by sociologist William Petersen to describe Asian Americans as ethnic minorities who, despite marginalization, have achieved success in the United States. In his essay called "Success Story: Japanese American Style", he wrote that the Japanese cultures have strong work ethics and family values. Furthermore, he wrote that those values prevent them from becoming a "problem minority". A similar article about Chinese Americans was published in U.S. News and World Report in December 1966.[16][17]

In the 1980s, almost all major US magazines and newspapers printed success stories of Asian Americans.[18]:222

However, in the 1970s and 1980s, many scholars challenged the model minority stereotype. B. Suzuki published "Education and the Socialization of Asian Americans: A Revisionist Analysis of the 'Model Minority Thesis". In the paper, he disagrees with how the media is portraying Asian Americans. He explains the sociohistorical background and the contemporary social system, and argues that the Model Minority stereotype is a myth.[14]:3

Some have described the creation of the model minority theory as partially a response to the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement, when African Americans fought for equal rights and the discontinuation of racial segregation in the United States. In a backlash to the movement, white America presented and used Asian Americans to argue that African Americans could raise up their communities by focusing on education and accepting and conforming to racial segregation and the institutional racism and discrimination of the time period, as Asian Americans have arguably done.[19][20][21]

Disregarding the fact that Asian Americans at the time were also marginalized and racially segregated in America thus they also represented lower economic levels and faced many social issues just as other racial and ethnic minorities.[21] The possible reasons as to why Asians Americans were used by White America as this image of a model minority are that they were viewed as having not been as much of a "threat" to White America due to less of a history of political activism in fighting racism, their smaller population, the success of their numerous businesses (nearly all of which were small businesses) in their segregated communities, and the fact that during the time period Chinese, Japanese and Filipino Americans' educational attainment level was meeting the national average equaling Whites in terms of education.[22]

Since the creation of the model minority stereotype, Asian Americans have now exceeded White Americans in terms of education as well as many other racial and ethnic groups in American society and as of 2012 Asian Americans (as a whole) have obtained the highest educational attainment level and median household income of any racial and ethnic demographic in the country a position previously held by African Immigrants and Americans born of those immigrants.[23][24]

Those who resisted the stereotype in the early stages back in the 1960s-1980's could not gain enough support to combat the stereotype, because of the stereotype's so-called "positive" connotations. This led many even within the Asian American community at the time to view it either as a welcomed positive stereotype in contrast to years of negative stereotypes, or as a euphemistic stereotype that was no more than a mere annoyance. They did not foresee the negative repercussions to come from this stereotype. Many critics point out that there are more positives than negatives that come with this stereotype while many others believe that there are just as many negatives that come with this stereotype as there are positives and that no stereotype regardless of how positive they try to be or how positive their connotations are should be regarded as a good stereotype. Scientific studies have revealed that positive stereotypes have many negative and damaging consequences both socially and psychologically.[25][26][27][28]

A few years after the article on Asian Americans being the model minority was published, Asian Americans formed their own movement that fought for their own equal rights and resolution of their own specific social issues, modeling it after the Civil Rights Movement thus effectively challenging White America and the social construct of racial discrimination.[29]

United States

Model minority stereotype

There has been a significant change in the perceptions of Asian Americans. In as little as 100 years of American history, stereotypes of East Asian Americans have changed from them being viewed as poor uneducated laborers to being portrayed as a hard working and upper middle class educated minority.[30]

An example of the model minority stereotype are phenomena such as the high rates of educational attainment and high household incomes in the Indian American community. Pointing to generalized data, another argument for the model minority stereotype is generalized data such as from the US Census Bureau, where the median household income of Asian Americans is $68,780, higher than the total population's $50,221.[31] Although some Asian American ethnic groups are economically successful, others, such as Hmong, Lao, Cambodian and Khmer, are less successful than average.[32]

The model minority model also points to the percentage of Asian Americans at elite universities (elite university being roughly defined as a school in the Top 40 according to U.S. News & World Report.)[33] Model minority proponents claim that while Asian Americans are only 5% of the US population, they are over-represented at all these schools.

Asian American students are concentrated in a very small percentage of institutions, in only eight states (and half concentrated in California, New York and Texas).[34] Moreover, as more Asian Americans become Americanized and assimilated, more Asian American students are beginning to attend two-year community colleges (363,798 in 2000) than four-year public universities (354,564 in 2000), and this trend of attending community college is accelerating.[34] Unsurprisingly, West Coast academic institutions are amongst those that have the highest concentrations of Asian Americans.

The most highly educated group of Asian immigrants are Indian.[32] The low numbers for Southeast Asians can be a bit misleading, as a large percent comes from adult immigrants who came to the United States without any college education due to war. For ages 25 to 34, 45% of Vietnamese-Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher compared to 39% of Non-Hispanic Whites.[35]

Due to the impacts of the Model Minority stereotype, unlike other minority serving institutions, Asian American Pacific Islander serving institutions (AAPISI) did not receive federal recognition until 2007, with the passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which federally recognized the existence of AAPISIs, making them eligible for federal funding and designation as minority serving institutions.[36]

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's 2003 report Crime in the United States, Asian Americans have the lowest total arrest rates[37] despite a younger average age, and high family stability.[38]

Bachelor's Degree or Higher Educational Attainment[39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49]
Ethnicity or nationality Percent of Population
Taiwanese 74.1%
Korean 72.8%
Indian 67.9%
Lebanese 64.9%
Pakistani 60.9%
Jewish 59.0%
Iranian 57.2%
Chinese (not incl. Taiwanese) 50.2%
Venezuelan 49.7%
Filipino 47.9%
Japanese 43.7%
Bangladeshi 41.9%
Armenian[50] 41%
Argentinean 38.9%
Non-Hispanic White 30.7%
General US Population 28.0%
Vietnamese 26.1%
Black 16.5%
Hmong 16.0%
Cambodian 14.6%
Laotian 13.0%

South Asian Americans

The model minority label also includes South Asian communities, in particular, Indian Americans, because of their disproportionate socioeconomic success.[51] For example, according to the census report on Asian Americans issued in 2004 by the US census bureau, 64% of Indian Americans had a bachelor's degree or higher, the second highest for all national origin groups. In the same census, 60% of Indian-Americans had management or professional jobs, compared with a national average of 33%. Indian Americans, along with Japanese and Filipino Americans, have some of the lowest poverty rates for all communities, as well as one of the lowest rates of single parent households (7% versus the national average of 15%). Indian Americans also earn the highest average income out of all national origin/ethnic groups. This has resulted in several stereotypes such as that of the "Indian Doctor".[52]

Taiwanese Americans

Taiwanese Americans from all social backgrounds have achieved significant advances in their educational levels, income, life expectancy and other social indicators as the financial and socioeconomic opportunities offered by the United States have lifted many Taiwanese Americans out of poverty into the ranks of America's educated and upper middle class. Estimates indicate that a disproportionate percentage of Taiwanese students attend elite universities despite constituting less than 0.5% of the U.S. population. Taiwanese Americans have the highest education attainment level in the United States, surpassing any other ethnic group in the country, according to U.S Census Bureau data released in 2010. According to the 2010 Labor Statistics from U.S. Census Bureau, 73.6% of all Taiwanese Americans have attained a bachelor's or high degree (compared to 28.2% nationally and 49.9% for all Asian American groups). 80.0% of Taiwanese American men attained a bachelor's degree and 68.3% of Taiwanese American women attained a bachelor's degree. 39.1% of all Taiwanese in the United States possess a master's, doctorate or other professional degree, which is nearly four times the national average.[53][54]

Media portrayal

Media coverage of the increasing success of Asian Americans as a group began in the 1960s, reporting high average test scores and marks in school, winning national spelling bees, and high levels of university attendance.

In 1988, Asian-American writer Philip K. Chiu identified the prevalence of the model minority stereotype in American media reports on Chinese Americans, and noted the contrast between that stereotype and what he observed as the reality of the Chinese American population, which was much more varied than the model minority stereotype in the media typically presented.[55]

I am fed up with being stereotyped as either a subhuman or superhuman creature. Certainly I am proud of the academic and economic successes of Chinese Americans . . . But it's important for people to realize that there is another side. . . . It is about time for the media to report on Chinese Americans the way they are. Some are superachievers, most are average citizens, and a few are criminals. They are only human--no more and no less.

Possible causes of model minority status

Selective immigration

One possible cause of the higher performance of Asian Americans as a group is that they represent a small population in America so those who are chosen to move to America often come from a selective group of Asian people. The relative difficulty of emigrating and immigrating into the United States has created a selective nature of the process with the U.S. often choosing the wealthier and more educated out of those with less resources, motivation or ability to immigrate.[5][56]

Cultural differences

Cultural factors are thought to be part of the reason why Asian Americans are successful in the United States. East Asian societies often place more resources and emphasis on education. For example, Confucian tenets and Chinese culture places great value on work ethic and the pursuit of knowledge. In traditional Chinese social stratification, scholars were ranked at the topwell above businessmen and landowners. This view of knowledge is evident in the modern lifestyle of many Asian American families, where the whole family puts emphasis on education and parents will make it their priority to push their children to study and achieve high marks. Similar cultural tendencies and values are found in South Asian American families, whose children similarly face extra pressure by parents to succeed in school and to achieve high-ranked jobs.

Others counter this notion of culture as a driving force, as it ignores immigration policies.[56] In the mid 1800s in the United States, Asian immigrants were recruited as laborers for agriculture and to aid in the building of the first transcontinental railroad. Many worked for low wages in the harshest conditions. Confucian values were not seen as a key to success. It was only until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 changed the way Asians were seen, as Asians with higher education backgrounds were selectively chosen from a larger pool of the Asian population.[5][56]

Further, it has also been argued the myth of the Confucian emphasis on education is counterfactual. It also implies Asians are a monolithic group, and ignores the fact that the most educated group of Asian immigrants in the US are Indians, for whom Confucius is non-existent in their upbringing.[5]

It has also been argued that self-selecting immigrants do not represent the actual Asian American population as a whole, nor the populations of their home countries. Only 50 percent of Chinese immigrants in the U.S. have a bachelor's degree, yet only 5 percent of the population does in their native China.[5]

Lastly, if Confucian culture played a vital part of Asian culture, Chinese immigrant children would perform consistently around the world, yet second-generation Chinese immigrants are the lowest academic achievers among immigrant groups in Spain, less than half are expected to graduate from middle school.[5]

Asian American status in affirmative action

In the 1980s, one Ivy League school found evidence it had limited admissions of Asian American students. Because of their high degree of success as a group and over-representation in many areas such as college admissions, most Asian Americans are not granted preferential treatment by affirmative action policies as are other minority groups.[57]

Some schools choose lower-scoring applicants from other racial groups over Asian Americans in an attempt to promote racial diversity and to maintain some proportion to the society's racial demographics.[57][58]:165

Effects of the stereotype towards Asian Americans

According to Gordon H. Chang: The reference to Asian Americans as model minorities has to do with the work ethic, respect for elders, and high valuation of family and elders present in their culture. The Model Minority stereotype also comes with an underlying notion of their apoliticality. Such a label one-dimensionalizes Asian Americans as having only traits based around stereotypes and no other human qualities, such as vocal leadership, negative emotions (e.g. anger or sadness), sociopolitical activeness, risk taking, ability to learn from mistakes, desire for creative expression, intolerance towards oppression or being overlooked of their acknowledgements and successes. Asian Americans are labeled as model minorities because they have not been as much of a "threat" to the US political establishment as blacks, due to a smaller population and less political advocacy. This label seeks to suppress potential political activism through euphemistic stereotyping.[59]

Another effect of the stereotype is that American society may tend to ignore the racism and discrimination Asian Americans still face. Complaints are dismissed with the claim that the racism which occurs to Asian Americans is less important than or not as bad as the racism faced by other minority races, thus establishing a systematic racial hierarchy. Believing that due to their success and that they possess so-called "positive" stereotypes, many assume they face no forms of racial discrimination or social issues in the greater American society, and that their community is fine, having "gained" social and economic equality.[60][61][62]

Racial discrimination can take subtle forms such as through microaggression. The stereotyping of Asian Americans as a model minority and perfidious foreigner influences people's perceptions and attitudes towards Asians [63] and also negatively affects students' academic outcomes, relationships with others, and psychological adjustments. For instance, discrimination and model minority stereotyping are linked to Asian American students' lower valuing of school, lower self-esteem, and higher depressive symptoms.[64] Furthermore, the psychological distress of failing to meet the model minority image, such as feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, shame, and embarrassment, is exacerbated due to the differential treatment associated with being stereotyped as a model minority and perpetual foreigner.

Furthermore, the model minority image can be a threat to underachieving Asian American students' academic experience and educational advancement. It promotes invisibility and disguises the academic barriers and psychological problems students may encounter. This is problematic because it creates a barrier for educators to better understand and assist struggling students' educational and mental health needs in order to optimize students' academic experience and social emotional development.

Asian Americans may also be commonly stereotyped by the general public as being studious, intelligent, successful, elitist, brand name conscious, yet paradoxically passive. As a result, higher and unreasonable expectations are often associated with Asian Americans. Also due to the model minority image, Asian American students are viewed as "problem-free" and academically competent students who can succeed with little support and without special services.[65] This emphasis that Asian Americans are being denial by their racial reality because of the assumption that "Asians are the new Whites"; therefore, they are being dismissed by their intelligence and experiences.[66] Thus, educators may overlook the instructional needs and psychological concerns of underachieving Asian American students. The model minority stereotype can also contribute to teachers' having a "blaming the victims" perspective. This means that teachers blame students, their culture, or their families for students' poor performance or misbehavior in school. This is problematic because it shifts responsibility away from schools and teachers and misdirects attention away from finding a solution to improve students' learning experience and alleviate the situation. Furthermore, the model minority stereotype has a negative impact on the home environment. Parents' expectations place high pressure on students to achieve, creating a stressful, school-like home environment. Parents' expressed worry and frustration can also place emotional burdens and psychological stress on students.[65]

Some educators hold Asian students to a higher standard.[18] This deprives those students with learning disabilities from being given attention that they need. The connotations of being a model minority mean Asian students are often labeled with the unpopular "nerd" or "geek" image.[18]:223 Asians have been the target of harassment, bullying, and racism from other races due to the racially divisive model minority stereotype.[58]:165

The higher expectations placed on East Asians as a result of the model minority stereotype carries over from academics to the workplace.[18]

The model minority stereotype is emotionally damaging to many Asian Americans, since there are unjustified expectations to live up to stereotypes of high achievement. The pressures from their families to achieve and live up to the model minority image have taken a tremendous mental and psychological toll on young Asian Americans.[67]

The model minority stereotype also influences Asian American students' psychological outcomes and academic experience. The model minority image can lead underachieving Asian American students to minimize their own difficulties and experience anxiety or psychological distress about their academic difficulties. Asian American students also have more negative attitudes toward seeking academic or psychological help[68] due to fear of shattering the high expectations of teachers, parents, and classmates.[69]

Overall, the model minority stereotype has negative effects on underachieving Asian students in both their home and school settings. It is a threat to Asian American students' academic experience and can disguise students' educational and mental health needs. Psychological distress from model minority stereotyping is related to the stressors associated with the pressure to succeed, differential treatment, and embarrassment or shame to seek help. With this information, a recommendation for schools is to promote a more inclusive and less competitive learning environment, so students will not be ashamed and afraid to ask for help. Administrators can also improve school climate by monitoring incidents of racial harassment and discrimination. Additionally, to better address struggling students' educational and mental health needs, educators can regularly check in with students and engage in culturally responsive teaching, aimed to understand students' unique circumstances and educational needs.

Invisible model minority: Africans

African immigrants and Americans born to African immigrants have been described as an "Invisible Model Minority" mainly due to their high degree of success in the United States, but due to misconceptions and stereotypes of them, their success has not been acknowledged by the greater American society and other Western societies and thus they are "invisible".[70][71] The invisibility of the success of Africans was touched upon by Dr. Kefa M. Otiso, an academic professor from Bowling Green State University, who stated that "[B]ecause these immigrants come from a continent that is often cast in an unfavorable light in the U.S. media, there is a tendency for many Americans to miss the vital contribution of these immigrants to meeting critical U.S. domestic labor needs, enhancing American global economic and technological competitiveness".[72]


In the 2000 U.S. census, it was revealed that African Immigrants were the most educated immigrant group in the United States even when compared to Asian immigrants.[23][73] Some 48.9 percent of all African immigrants hold a college diploma.[23][74] This is more than double the rate of native-born white Americans, and nearly four times the rate of native-born African Americans. According to the 2000 Census, the rate of college diploma acquisition is highest among Egyptian Americans at 59.7 percent, followed closely by Nigerian Americans at 58.6 percent.[75][76]

In 1997, 19.4 percent of all adult African immigrants in the United States held a graduate degree, compared to 8.1 percent of adult white Americans and 3.8 percent of adult black Americans in the United States, respectively.[23] According to the 2000 Census, the percentage of Africans with a graduate degree is highest among Nigerian Americans at 28.3 percent, followed by Egyptian Americans at 23.8 percent.[75][76]

Of the African-born population in the United States age 25 and older, 87.9% reported having a high school degree or higher,[77] compared with 78.8% of Asian-born immigrants and 76.8% of European-born immigrants, respectively.[78]

This success comes in spite of facts such as that more than 75 percent of the African foreign born in the United States have only arrived since the 1990s and that African immigrants make up a disportionately small percentage of immigrants coming to the United States such as in 2007 alone African immigrants made up only 3.7 percent of all immigrants in coming to the United States and again in 2009 they made up only 3.9 percent of all immigrants making this group a fairly recent to the United States diversity.[79][80]

Of the 8 percent of the Ivy League Universities' such as Princeton population which are Black students at an overwhelming 50-66 percent was made up of Black African immigrants, Caribbean immigrants, and American born to those immigrants.[70][71][81] Many top universities report that a disproportionate of the black student population consists of recent immigrants, their children, or were mixed race.[82]


The overrepresentation of the highly skilled can be seen in the relatively high share of Black African immigrants with at least a four-year college degree. In 2007, 27 percent of the US population aged 25 and older had a four-year degree or more; 10 percent had a master's, doctorate, or professional degree. Immigrants from several Anglophone African countries were among the best educated: a majority of Black Immigrants from Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe had at least a four-year degree. Immigrants from Egypt, where the official language is Arabic, were also among the best educated.[73] The overrepresentation of the highly skilled among US immigrants is particularly striking for several of Africa's largest source countries. The United States was the destination for 59 percent of Nigeria's highly skilled immigrants along with 47 percent of those from Ghana and 29 percent from Kenya.[73]

The average annual personal income of African immigrants is about $26,000 nearly $2,000 more than that of workers born in the U.S. This might be because 71 percent of the Africans 16 years and older are working, compared to 64 percent of Americans. This is believed to be due larger percentage of African immigrants have higher educational qualifications than Americans, which results in higher per capita incomes for African immigrants and Americans born to African immigrants.[72]

Outside of educational success specific groups have found economic success and have made many contributions to American society such as Ugandan Americans. Recent statistics indicate that Ugandans have become one of the country's biggest contributors to the economy, their contribution, amounting to US$1 billion in annual remittances which are disproportionately large contributions despite a community and population of less than 13,000.[83][84]

African immigrants like many other immigrant groups are likely to establish and find success in small businesses. Many Africans that have seen the social and economic stability that comes from ethnic enclaves such as Chinatowns have recently been establishing ethnic enclaves of their own at much higher rates to reap the benefits of such communities.[85]

Demographically African Immigrants and Americans born of African immigrants tend to typically congregate in urban areas, moving to suburban areas over the next few generations as they try to acquire economic and social stability. They are also one of America's least likely groups to live in racially segregated areas.[86]

African Immigrants and Americans born of African immigrants have been reported as having some of the lowest crime rates in the United States and being one of the unlikeliest groups to go into or commit crime. African immigrants have even been reported to have lowered crime rates in neighborhoods in which they have moved into.[87]

Black immigrants from Black majority countries are revealed to be much healthier than Blacks from countries that are not majority Black and where they constitute a minority. Thus African immigrants are often much healthier than American-born Blacks and Black immigrants from Europe.[88]

Cultural factors

Cultural factors have been proposed as an explanation for the success of African immigrants. For example, it is claimed they often integrate into American society more successfully and at higher rates than other immigrants groups due to social factors. One being that many African immigrants have strong English skills even before entering the U.S. Many African nations, particularly former British colonies, use English as a lingua franca.[73] Because of this, many African immigrants to the U.S. are bilingual. Overall, 70 percent of Black African immigrants either speak English as their primary language or speak another language but are also fluent in English. Compare this to 48% proficiency in English for other immigrant groups.

Kefa M. Otiso has proposed another reason for the success of African immigrants, saying that they have a "high work ethic, focus and a drive to succeed that is honed and crafted by the fact that there are limited socioeconomic opportunities in their native African countries," says Otiso.[72]

Selective immigration

Another possible cause of the higher performance of African immigrants as a group is that they represent a small population here in America so those who are chosen to come here often come from a selective group of African people. The relative difficulty of emigrating and immigrating into the United States has created a selective nature of the process with the U.S. often choosing the wealthier and more educated out of those with less resources, motivation or ability to immigrate.[73]

Americans born to African immigrants

Despite African immigrants being highly educated many often find it hard to become employed in high level occupations. Most instead have to work in labor jobs to subsist and maintain a decent life. Often it is left to their children to take up these higher positions. This desire to succeed is then transferred onto second generation African immigrants. These Americans often report that their families pushed them very hard to strive for success and overachieve in many aspects of society, especially education. African immigrants put a premium on education because of the limited socioeconomic opportunities they experienced in their native countries. Consequently, they often allocate more resources towards it.

This pushing of second generation African immigrants by their parents has proven to be the key factor in their success, and a combination of family support and the emphasis of family unit has given these citizens social and psychological stability which makes them strive even further for success in many aspects of their daily life and society.[89]

Many of these American groups have thus transplanted high cultural emphasis on education and work ethic into their cultures which can be seen in the cultures[89] of Algerian Americans, Kenyan Americans,[90] Sierra Leonean Americans,[91] Ghanaian Americans, Malawian Americans,[92] Congolese Americans,[93] Tanzanian Americans, and especially Nigerian[94] and Egyptian Americans.[95]

African immigrants outside the United States

Other than in the United States, Africans have been experienced success in numerous other countries such as Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, which have attracted many educated and highly skilled African immigrants with enough resources for them to start a new life in these countries.[73]

In the United Kingdom, one report has revealed that African immigrants have high rates of employment and that African immigrants are doing better economically than some other immigrant groups.[96] Africans have obtained much success as entrepreneurs, many owning and starting many successful businesses across the country.[97][98] Of the African immigrants, certain groups have become and are highly integrated into the country especially groups which have strong English language skills such as Zimbabweans or Nigerians, and they often come from highly educated and highly qualified backgrounds.[99][100] Many African immigrants have low levels of unemployment, and some groups are known for their high rates of self-employment, as can be seen in the case of Nigerian immigrants.[100] Certain groups outside of having strong English skills have found success mostly because many who immigrated to the UK are already highly educated and highly skilled professionals who come with jobs and positions such as business people, academics, traders, doctors and lawyers as is the case with Sudanese immigrants.[101]

As of 2013, Nigerian immigrants were among the nine immigrant populations that were above average academically in the UK.[102] Euromonitor International for the British Council suggests that the high academic achievement by Nigerian students is mainly from most of the pupils already having learned English in their home country. Additionally, many of them hail from the wealthier segments of Nigerian society, which can afford to pursue studies abroad.[103] A notable example of the highly educated nature of British Nigerians is the case of Paula and Peter Imafidon, nine-year-old twins who are the youngest students ever to be admitted to high school in England. Nicknamed the 'Wonder Twins', the twins and other members of their family have accomplished incredible rare feats, passing advanced examinations and being accepted into institutions with students twice their age.[104]


Christian Arabs are one of the most educated groups in Israel. Maariv has described the Christian Arabs sectors as "the most successful in education system",[12] since Christian Arabs fared the best in terms of education in comparison to any other group receiving an education in Israel.[13] Christian Arabs have one of the highest rates of success in the matriculation examinations, (64%)[13] both in comparison to the Muslims and the Druze and in comparison to all students in the Jewish education system as a group,[13] Arab Christians were also the vanguard in terms of eligibility for higher education.[13] and they have attained a bachelor's degree and academic degree more than the median Israeli population.[13]

The rate of students studying in the field of medicine was also higher among the Christian Arab students, compared with all the students from other sectors.[13] the percentage of Arab Christian women who are higher education students is higher than other sectors.[12] despite that Arab Christian account 2.1% of the total Israeli population,[105] In 2014 the percentage of Arab Christian of the total Israeli Universities students was 17.0%, and 14.4% of the total Israeli College students.[106]

In terms of their socio-economic situation, Arab Christians are more similar to the Jewish population than to the Muslim Arab population. They have the lowest incidence of poverty and the lowest percentage of unemployment which is 4.9% compared to 6.5% among Jewish and to 9.2% among Muslim men and women.[107] They have also the highest median household income among Arab citizens of Israel and second highest median household income among the Israeli ethno-religious groups.[108] Also Arab Christians have a high presentation in science and in the white collar professions.[109] In Israel Arab Christians are portrayed as a hard working and upper middle class educated ethno-religious minority.

According to study Are Christian Arabs the New Israeli Jews? Reflections on the Educational Level of Arab Christians in Israel by Hanna David from the University of Tel Aviv, one of the factors is why Arab Christians are the most educated sub-population in Israel is their high level Christian educational institutions. Christian schools are among Israel's best performing educational institutions, While those schools represent only 4% of the Arab schooling sector, about 34% of Arab University students come from Christian schools,[110] and about 87% of the Israeli Arabs in the High tech sector, have been educated in the Christian schools.[111][112]


In Canada, Asian Canadians are somewhat viewed as a model minority, though the phenomenon is not as widespread as it is in the United States. Majority of this aimed toward the East Asian Community.[113][114]


In Mexico, German and Lebanese Mexicans are seen as model minorities.

German Mexicans

German Mexicans have been so deeply assimilated and ingrained into Mexican society that German cultural heritage and influences can be found throughout all parts of Mexico and Mexican society. German cultural events such as Oktoberfest can usually be seen in several major cities with significant Mexican-German communities throughout the country, including Mexico City, Chihuahua, and Victoria de Durango. Colegio Alemán Alexander von Humboldt in Mexico City is the largest German-based school outside of Germany itself. Major German roots and influences are particularly strong in Mexican music, due to the large German immigration to Texas and northern Mexico around the 1830s.

Today, there are various styles of music that descended in part from German music and they are Tejano, Conjunto, Tex-Mex, Quebradita, Banda, Ranchera, and Norteño. These musical styles are especially popular in northern Mexico and in places of the United States where there is a large Mexican immigrant population.[115] German Mexicans were instrumental and played a crucial part in the development of the cheese and brewing industries in Mexico.[116] German influence can be seen as having had a lasting impact on Mexican beers, with brands such as Negra Modelo and Dos Equis Ambar, both deriving from Vienna-style lager. It was German brewing styles that helped cement brewing as a Mexican cultural trait and enterprise.

Lebanese Mexicans

Although Lebanese Mexicans made up less than 5% of the total immigrant population in Mexico during the 1930s, they constituted half of the immigrant economic activity.[117] Lebanese influence in Mexican culture can be seen most particularly in food, where they have introduced many foods and dishes and created their own recipes such as tacos Árabes.

Carlos Slim, formerly the richest man in the world (currently the second richest in the world),[118] is an example of Lebanese Mexican success in Mexican society.


French Vietnamese

Vietnamese in France are the most well-established overseas Vietnamese community outside eastern Asia as well as Asian ethnic group in France. While the level of integration among immigrants and their place in French society have become prominent issues in France in the past decade, French media and politicians generally view the Vietnamese community as a model minority.[10] This is in part because they are represented as having a high degree of integration within French society as well as their economic and academic success. A survey in 1988 asking French citizens which immigrant ethnic group they believe to be the most integrated in French society saw the Vietnamese being ranked fourth, only behind the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese communities.[10]

The educational attainment rate of the Vietnamese population in France is the highest among overseas Vietnamese populations, a legacy that dates back to the colonial era of Vietnam, when privileged families and those with connections to the colonial government often sent their children to France to study.[10] In addition to high achievements in education, the Vietnamese population in France is also largely successful in economic terms. When the first major wave of Vietnamese migrants arrived in France during World War I, a number already held professional occupations in their new country shortly after their arrival. More recently, refugees who arrived in France after the Fall of Saigon are often more financially stable than their counterparts who settled in North America, Australia and the rest of Europe, due to better linguistic and cultural knowledge of the host country, which allowed them to enter the education system and/or higher paying professions with little trouble.[119] While median income rates for the generation of Vietnamese immigrants to France is below the national average, within a single generation it has risen to above average for French-born Vietnamese.[119]

French Laotians

Similarly to the Vietnamese, the Laotian community in France is among one of the most well integrated into the country and is the most established overseas Laotian populace.[11] Unlike their counterparts in North America and Australia, Laotians in France have a high rate of educational success and are well-represented in the academic and professional sectors, especially among the generations of French-born Lao.[120] Due to better linguistic and cultural knowledge of the host country, Laotian immigrants to France, who largely came as refugees after the end of the Laotian Civil War, were able to have a high rate of assimilation.


In Germany the academic success of people of Vietnamese origin has been called "Das vietnamesische Wunder"[9] ("The Vietnamese Miracle"). A study revealed that in the Berlin districts of Lichtenberg and Marzahn, both in former East Berlin and possessing a relatively small percentage of immigrants, Vietnamese account for only 2% of the general population, but make up 17% of the prep school population.[121] Another note of Vietnamese Germans Academic success is that even though they can grow up in poverty in places like East Germany they usually outperform their peers by a wide margin.[122]

Another group in Germany that is extremely academically successful and is comparable to that of a model minority are Korean Germans 70% of whom attended a Gymnasium (which is comparable to a prep school in American society) compared to Vietnamese Germans with only 50% attending a Gymnasium.[9][123] Also Over 70% of second-generation Korean Germans hold at least an Abitur or higher educational qualification, more than twice the ratio of the rest of Germany.[124]


In Burma, Gurkhas of Nepalese descent are viewed as a model minority. Gurkhas place a high importance on education, and they represent a disproportionately high share of those with advanced (medical, engineering or doctorate) degrees in Burma.[125][126]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, Asian New Zealanders are viewed as a model minority due to attaining above average socio-economic indicators than the New Zealand average, though the phenomenon remains small, underground, and not as widespread compared with their American counterparts.[114][127]


See also: Indo people


At the end of the colonial era of the Dutch East Indies (Now: Indonesia) a community of about 300,000 Indo-Europeans (people of mixed Indonesian and European heritage) was registered as Dutch citizens. Indos formed the vast majority of the European legal class in the colony. When in the second half of the 20th century the independent Republic of Indonesia was established, the majority of Europeans, including the Indo-Europeans,[128] were expelled from the newly established country.


From 1945 to 1949 the Indonesian National Revolution turned the former Dutch East Indies into an increasingly hostile environment for Indo-Europeans. Violence aimed towards Indo-Europeans during its early Bersiap period (1945-1946) accumulated in almost 20,000 deaths.[129] The Indo diaspora continued up to 1964 and resulted in the emigration of practically all Indo-Europeans from a turbulent young Indonesian nation. Even though most Indos had never set foot in the Netherlands before, this emigration was named repatriation.

Notwithstanding the fact that Indos in the former colony of the Dutch East Indies were officially part of the European legal class and were formally considered to be Dutch nationals, the Dutch government practiced an official policy of discouragement with regard to the post-WWII repatriation of Indos to the Netherlands.[130] While Dutch policy was in fact aimed at stimulating Indos to give up Dutch citizenship and opt for Indonesian citizenship, simultaneously the young Indonesian Republic implemented policies increasingly intolerant towards anything remotely reminiscent of Dutch influence. Even though actual aggression against Indos decreased after the extreme violence of the Bersiap period, all Dutch (language) institutions, schools and businesses were gradually eliminated and public discrimination and racism against Indos in the Indonesian job market continued. In the end 98% of the original Indo community repatriated to their distant fatherland in Europe.[131]


In the 1990s and early 21st century the Netherlands was confronted with ethnic tension in a now multi-cultural society. Ethnic tensions, rooted in the perceived lack of social integration and rise of crime rates of several ethnic minorities, climaxed with the murders of politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002 and film director Theo van Gogh in 2004. In 2006 statistics show that in Rotterdam, the second largest city in the country, close to 50% of the inhabitants were of foreign descent. The Indo community however is considered the best integrated ethnic and cultural minority in the Netherlands. Statistical data compiled by the CBS shows that Indos belong to the group with the lowest crime rates in the country.[132]

A CBS study of 1999 reveals that of all foreign born groups living in the Netherlands, only the Indos have an average income similar to that of citizens born in the Netherlands. Job participation in government, education and health care is similar as well. Another recent CBS study, among foreign born citizens and their children living in the Netherlands in 2005, shows that on average, Indos own the largest number of independent enterprises. A 2007 CBS study shows that already over 50% of first-generation Indos have married a native born Dutch person. A percentage that increased to 80% for the second generation.[133][134] One of the first and oldest Indo organisations that supported the integration of Indo repatriates into the Netherlands is the Pelita foundation.[135]

Although Indo repatriates,[136] being born overseas, are officially registered as Dutch citizens of foreign descent, their Eurasian background puts them in the Western sub-class instead of the Non-Western (Asian) sub-class.

Two factors are usually attributed to the essence of their apparently seamless assimilation into Dutch society: Dutch citizenship and the amount of 'Dutch cultural capital', in the form of school attainments and familiarity with the Dutch language and culture, that Indos already possessed before migrating to the Netherlands.[8]

New generations

Although third- and fourth-generation Indos[137] are part of a fairly large minority community in the Netherlands, the path of assimilation ventured by their parents and grandparents has left them with little knowledge of their actual roots and history, even to the point that they find it hard to recognise their own cultural features. Some Indos find it hard to grasp the concept of their Eurasian identity and either tend to disregard their Indonesian roots or on the contrary attempt to profile themselves as Indonesian.[138] In recent years however the reinvigorated search for roots and identity has also produced several academic studies.[131][133][139][140][141]

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