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Housing Tenure Choice of Taiwanese Immigrants: A Different Path to Residential Assimilation

Zhou Yu
Traditional assimilation theory predicts immigrant adaptation into society as a function of catching up to status of U.S.-born non-Hispanic white households. Recent Taiwanese immigrants, rather than climbing socioeconomic ladders overtime, may have surpassed the socioeconomic status of whites soon after arrivals, as measured by their homeownership attainment (Painter, Yang, and Yu 2003). This paper extends this research and specifically examines Taiwanese immigrants’ high homeownership attainment. It reveals that (1) compared with native-born whites, all Chinese subgroups have higher predicted homeownership rates; (2) homeownership gaps between Taiwanese and other Chinese immigrants are quite large among newcomers, converging somewhat over time; (3) Taiwanese, who contributed to the surge in homeownership during the 1980s, were more likely to be young, highly educated, and new immigrant households with incomes lower than the median level; and (4) Taiwanese stand in contrast to other immigrants as English proficiency, an indicator of assimilation, does not play a significant role in their homeownership attainment. These outcomes may be an aggregate effect of a large influx of well-off Taiwanese, family support, and cultural affinity for homeownership. Further research is necessary on factors such as locational choice and informal resources in immigrants' tenure choice.