Bamboo bridges or barriers? Exploring advantages of bilingualism among Asians in the U.S. labor market through the lens of superdiversity

Document Type


Publication Date



The number of Asian immigrants in the United States has increased remarkably over the past decades and now accounts for nearly 30% of all immigrants in the country. However, the umbrella term "Asians" includes a wide range of variety. Acknowledging diversity among Asians, this study explores advantages of Asian bilingualism in the American labor market by attending to employment status and personal earnings through the lens of superdiversity. A series of logistic and ordinary least squared regression analyses of the 2011-2015 American Community Survey (ACS) data shows that substantial differences exist across different ethnic groups among Asians. Bilingual advantages appear in most Asian groups when predicting both employment status and personal earnings, and the benefits tend to be more salient in the results of earnings analysis. The findings indicate that native-language literacy skill is a more momentous variable than the other variables in the model and that bilingual advantages stand out among Asian Indians and Chinese/Taiwanese more substantially compared to other Asians. Immense gender gaps also exist between Asian males and females in terms of economic well-being, and such gaps are more conspicuous in personal earnings than in employment status.


LMU users: use the following link to login and access the article via LMU databases.

Recommended Citation

Ee, J. (2019) ‘Bamboo Bridges or Barriers? Exploring Advantages of Bilingualism among Asians in the U.S. Labor Market through the Lens of Superdiversity’, Bilingual Research Journal, 42(2), pp. 252–268.