Factors in productive aging of East Asian immigrants in the United States
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The increasing number of older East Asian immigrants in the United States calls for attention to their characteristics and needs. The concept of productive aging addresses the lives, challenges, and options available to East Asian immigrants in the United States. The purpose of this exploratory study is to apply the concept of productive aging to East Asian immigrants in the United States by analyzing a secondary dataset. This quantitative study examined the effects of immigration experiences and acculturation on productive activities, particularly paid work and caregiving for grandchildren among East Asian immigrants. In the 2006-2010 ACS PUMS dataset, older East Asian immigrants over 55 years of age (N = 30,846) were selected in this study. The dependent variables were paid work and participation in productive activities; the independent variables were the length of immigration, attainment of citizenship, language preference, and arrival age in the United States. Socio-demographic variables were used as control variables. Multiple linear regression analysis and logistic regression were used to test the effects of immigration experiences and acculturation on paid work and participation in either paid work or caregiving for grandchildren or both. The quantitative results provide evidence that immigration experiences and acculturation affect East Asian immigrants’ productive activities. In particular, citizenship positively affected respondents’ productive activities, and East Asian immigrants’ length of immigration and arrival age in the United States presented negatively affected their participation in paid work. These findings demonstrate that the concept of productive aging reflects an aging population’s activities and needs, as well as giving political and practical implications for the field of social work for this population. Future research needs to examine these issues to fully understand older East Asian immigrants’ talents, challenges, immigration history and needs in depth.