Social Indicators Research

, Volume 138, Issue 3, pp 1075–1087 | Cite as

Perceived Social Position of Asian Americans: Neighborhood Context and Social Comparison

  • Bongki WooEmail author
  • Kaipeng Wang
  • David T. Takeuchi


This paper examines the social factors associated with Asian Americans’ perception of their social position in the United States. The neighborhood may be an immediate context through which individuals sort their social position in a social hierarchy and reinforce distinctions between classes. We hypothesize that Asians’ subjective social status assignment process is determined by the neighborhood socioeconomic status and the relative position of individuals in their neighborhood. Data on Asian Americans is drawn from the National Latino and Asian American Study (N = 2095 nested in 251 census tracts). Hierarchical linear modeling is used to estimate the associations between individual household income, neighborhood median household income, relative income, and subjective social status. Results show that Asians who have high household income and whose household income is higher than the neighborhood median reported higher subjective social status. This finding highlights the potential contribution of social comparison in the neighborhood context on internalized class identity and relative success of Asian Americans in the U.S.


Asian Americans Subjective social status Neighborhood context Social comparison 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston College School of Social WorkChestnut HillUSA
  2. 2.Texas State University School of Social WorkSan MarcosUSA

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