How Asian and White Americans Have Different Ideas of Success

How Asian and White Americans Have Different Ideas of Success

July 25, 2017
Research statistics gathered at the University of Michigan reveal that most Asians have a completely different outlook on success compared to White Americans.
When it comes to success, some would prefer being on the managerial position in a company, even when that company isn’t as renowned as others.
According to The Atlantic, the trait of being a “big fish in a small pond” is something that most Westerners display. A majority of Caucasians would rather be the boss but in a less-competitive company. On the other hand, the research also shows that a majority of Asians prefer being the opposite of the “big fish” analogy.
Subscribe to
NextShark's Newsletter

A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.

Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.

Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.

A survey that documented the response of 270 students at the University of Michigan shows a whopping 75% of its Asian population opted being the “small fish.” A majority of the Asian students would rather be a regular employee in a prestigious company instead of being an executive of a less-reputable one.
However, this mindset isn’t just evident within Asian-American students since adults in China seem to display the same trait. Another research shows that more than half of Chinese adults still prefer being ordinary workers albeit in reputable organizations.
While it’s easy to assume that the “small fish” mentality could limit Asians from reaching success in America, this isn’t the case in reality. According to Washington Post, Asian-Americans are finding more success nowadays than they did decades ago.
In addition, research by Brown University economist Nathaniel Hilger shows that this has little to do with Asians being more educated compared to other races in America either. Asians are becoming more successful simply because there are now more opportunities in America for them.
Caucasians are now more accommodating to Asians than before, giving them even better positions at renowned companies. While the statistics shows that Caucasians are still the highest earners among other races, Asians have significantly progressed the most compared to the Hispanics and African-Americans.
Feature Image via Flickr/Richard Masoner (CC BY 2.0)
      Kyle Encina

      Kyle Encina is a contributor at NextShark




      Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.

      Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.

      We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.

      © 2023 NextShark, Inc. All rights reserved.