Most Asian Americans View Their Ancestral Homelands Favorably, Except Chinese Americans
By Gar Meng Leong
The majority of Asian Americans view the U.S. positively and see it as the world’s leading economic power of the next decade.
According to a new analysis of a multi-lingual nationally representative survey of Asian American adults, around three-quarters of Asian Americans (78%) have a favorable view of the United States – including 44% who have very favorable views of the country. Conducted July 5, 2022, to January 27, 2023 among 7,006 Asian adults living in the U.S., the survey found opinion of Japan, Korea and Taiwan is also quite positive, while views of Vietnam, the Philippines and India are somewhat mixed; and opinion of China is predominantly negative.
Among Asian Americans who trace their heritage to these places, opinions of their own ancestral homeland are largely positive – though Chinese American adults are the exception.
About nine-in-ten Taiwanese and Japanese Americans say their opinion of their ancestral homelands is very or somewhat favorable, as do large majorities of Korean, Indian and Filipino adults. A smaller majority of Vietnamese Americans (59%) say they have a favorable view of Vietnam, while fewer than half of Chinese Americans (41%) hold a favorable opinion of China. (Note: Asian origin groups findings are among respondents who self-identify with one Asian origin only.)
Among the report’s other key findings:
- Members of each Asian origin group tend to view their own ancestral homeland much more favorably than other Asian adults. For example, among the seven origin groups highlighted in this report, the difference is the largest on views of India: 76% of Indian Americans have a favorable opinion of India, compared with 23% of other Asian Americans, a gap of 53 percentage points.
- Chinese and Vietnamese adults are the only origin groups in this analysis to express more favorable views of other places in Asia than their ancestral homelands. Chinese adults see Japan, Taiwan and South Korea more favorably than they do China. Vietnamese adults see Japan more favorably than they do Vietnam.
- As tensions rise between mainland China and Taiwan, Chinese Americans’ favorability of Taiwan over China is particularly notable: 62% of Chinese Americans say they have a favorable view of Taiwan, higher than the share who say the same about China (41%).
- Chinese Americans’ views of China and Taiwan vary by nativity, immigration experience and how long they have lived in the United States. Chinese immigrant adults are more likely than those born in the U.S. to hold favorable views of China (45% vs. 25%.) Meanwhile, when it comes to opinion of Taiwan, U.S.-born Chinese adults are somewhat more likely than immigrant adults to view Taiwan favorably (70% vs. 60%).
- There is little difference in views across political party affiliation, which is particularly notable on views toward China. Nearly identical shares of Republican and Democratic Asian Americans see China positively (20% and 18%, respectively) and negatively (55% and 52%).
- About half of Asian Americans (53%) say the United States will be the world’s leading economic power over the next decade. About one-third (36%) of Asian adults say China will be the leading economic power globally in the next 10 years and much lower shares say the same of India and Japan. Views of the next decade’s top economy varies by place of birth, age and gender.
- Most Asian adults say they would not move to their ancestral homeland, though this varies by nativity and time spent in the U.S. Nearly three-quarters of Asian adults (72%) say they would not move there (or, in some cases, move back) if they had the chance, while 26% say they would. Asian immigrants are about twice as likely as those born in the U.S. to say they would move to these places of heritage (30% vs. 14%).
- Interest in moving to ancestral homelands is lower among immigrants who have lived in the United States for a longer time. About half (47%) of Asian immigrants who have been in the U.S. for 10 years or less say they would move to their ancestral homelands, compared with roughly one-in-five (22%) who have been in the U.S. for more than 20 years.
- Among the 26% of Asian Americans who say they would move to their ancestral homelands, the top reasons include being closer to friends or family (36%) and a lower cost of living (22%). Smaller shares also pointed to greater familiarity with the culture, better support for older people, and feeling safer in their homeland.
- The survey explores what each Asian origin group’s main reason for moving to their ancestral homelands would be. (Note: The effective sample size was too small to report Taiwanese and Japanese Americans who say they would move to their ancestral homeland.)
- Among Chinese adults living in the U.S. who say they would move to China, the main reason reported is being closer to family and friends (27%) and familiarity with Chinese culture (24%).
- Among Filipino adults living in the U.S. who say they would move to the Philippines, the main reason reported is lower cost of living (47%) and proximity to friends or family (35%).
- Among Indian adults living in the U.S. who say they would move to India, the main reason reported is lower cost of living (52%).
- Among Korean adults living in the U.S. who say they would move to South Korea, the main reason reported is access to better health care (24%) and proximity to family and friends (22%).
- And finally, among Vietnamese adults living in the U.S. who say they would move to Vietnam, the main reason reported is lower cost of living (35%) and proximity to friends and family (32%).
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It does not take policy positions. Subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters or follow us on our Short Reads blog.
Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. The Center’s Asian American portfolio was funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with generous support from The Asian American Foundation; Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Henry Luce Foundation; the Doris Duke Foundation; The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation; The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation; The Long Family Foundation; Lu-Hebert Fund; Gee Family Foundation; Joseph Cotchett; the Julian Abdey and Sabrina Moyle Charitable Fund; and Nanci Nishimura.
We would also like to thank the Leaders Forum for its thought leadership and valuable assistance in helping make this survey possible.