Asian Americans in New England: Settlement and business patterns, 1980--2002

Date of Completion

January 2010


Asian American Studies|Geography




The dramatic increase in Asian Americans in New England since 1980 was the basis for research in this dissertation. Asian Americans in New England, as nationally, have migrated primarily from six countries in East Asia (China, Japan, and South Korea), South Asia (India), and Southeast Asia (Philippines and Vietnam). Asian American settlement initially focused on Boston and the major metropolitan areas of New England has shown increasingly displayed dispersal into the hinterlands from 1980–2000. The dispersal phenomenon was explored through quantitative statistics and cartographic indicators for three census periods, contrasting the effectiveness of the statistics and cartography to show both the increase and dispersal. ^ Asian American owned businesses have grown dramatically during the latter years of the settlement growth, confirming the lag time associated between settlement and the establishment of a diverse business base. Prior to the study period Asian American owned businesses concentrated in the food and laundry services in the major metropolitan regions of New England. Nonetheless, since 1987 as demonstrated by research of the economic censuses and exploration of a private database, the growth and diversity of Asian American owned businesses has blossomed in New England. Each of the Asian American groups in this dissertation has found niche sectors to serve, though some groups have flourished more than others during the twenty year period. ^