Between 1994 and 2003 the percentage of Asian Americans who were self-employed dropped nearly two percentage points, to 10.4% from 12.2%. During that time the overall share of Americans who were their own bosses declined by only half a point, to 9.8%.Why is the self-employment rate among Asian Americans dropping so quickly? First, higher education usually translates into a greater chance of self-employment. Better-educated Asian immigrants may see owning their own business as a stepping stone to economic health, says Wayne State University economics professor Timothy Bates. But the recent waves of Chinese and Filipino immigrants are, on average, less well-educated than the Koreans and Japanese who made up a larger share of Asian immigrants in the past.
Second, once they've assimilated, immigrants often go to work for someone else. And children of self-employed immigrants are less likely to follow in their parents' footsteps. Over time, as U.S.-born Asians make up a larger portion of the Asian American population, the self-employment rate should continue to decline. By James Mehring