Posted on July 31, 2023

Most Asian Americans View Their Ancestral Homelands Favorably, Except Chinese Americans

Neil G. Ruiz et al., Pew Research Center, July 19, 2023



Around three-quarters of Asian Americans (78%) have a favorable view of the United States – including 44% who report very favorable views of the country. A majority also say they have positive views of Japan (68%), South Korea (62%) and Taiwan (56%), according to a new analysis of a multilingual, nationally representative survey of Asian American adults conducted from July 5, 2022, to Jan. 27, 2023.

Opinion of Vietnam, the Philippines and India is more mixed. In the case of both Vietnam and the Philippines, 37% of Asian adults have positive views, while around half say they have neither favorable nor unfavorable views, and only around one-in-ten see the countries in a negative light. Meanwhile, 33% of Asian Americans have favorable views of India, 41% report a neutral view and 23% view it unfavorably.

Asian Americans have predominantly negative views of China. Only 20% of Asian adults have a favorable opinion of China, compared with 52% who have an unfavorable opinion and 26% with neither a favorable nor unfavorable opinion.


Favorability varies across nativity, education and other demographic factors

Foreign-born and U.S.-born Asian Americans differ in their views of certain places:

  • In most cases, Asian immigrants express more positive views of the places they trace their heritage to than U.S.-born Asian adults.
  • Foreign-born Asian adults have much more favorable views of the United States than those born in the U.S. (83% vs. 64%).
  • Asian immigrants also have slightly more positive views of India and China than U.S.-born Asian adults. There are no differences between foreign- and U.S.-born Asian Americans when it comes to any of the other places asked about in the survey.

Asian Americans with higher levels of educational attainment often feel more positively about the places they were asked about than those with lower levels of formal schooling:

  • When it comes to views of India, 42% of those with a postgraduate degree have favorable views of the country, compared with 35% of those with a bachelor’s degree and 27% of those with less formal schooling.
  • The pattern is reversed, though, when it comes to China. Asian Americans with lower levels of education tend to feel more positively about China than those with more education. For example, 17% of those with at least a bachelor’s degree have positive views of China, compared with 23% of those who did not complete college.

Overall, there is little variation in attitudes by party identification. This lack of difference is notable on views toward China. Nearly identical shares of Republican and Democratic Asian Americans see the country positively (20% and 18%, respectively) and negatively (55% and 52%). This departs from trends seen among the general U.S. public: Our past analyses have found that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to hold an unfavorable opinion of China.

Most Asian adults would not move to their ancestral homelands

While Asian adults have largely favorable views of their ancestral homelands, most say they would not move (or, in some cases, move back) there if they had the chance. Nearly three-quarters of Asian adults say this, while 26% say they would.

Asian immigrants are twice as likely as those who are U.S. born to say they would move to the homelands of their heritage (30% vs. 14%).

Likewise, interest in moving to their homelands is lower among immigrants who have been in the U.S. for a longer time. About half (47%) of Asian immigrants who have been in the U.S. for 10 years or less say they would move to their ancestral homeland, compared with roughly one-in-five (22%) who have been in the U.S. for more than 20 years.

Asian Americans’ response to this question differs somewhat across origin groups. Willingness to move to the places they trace their heritage to ranges from a low of 16% among Chinese Americans to a high of 33% among Indian Americans. And among many origin groups, immigrants are more likely to say that they would move there than those born in the U.S.

Among the 26% of Asian Americans who say they would move to the homeland of their ancestors, top reasons include proximity to friends or family (36%) and a lower cost of living (22%). Smaller shares also pointed to greater familiarity with the culture, better support for older people and feeling safer there.

The survey also finds the main reasons Asian Americans say they would move to their places of origin varies across some Asian origin groups:

  • Chinese adults who say they would move to China would do so to be closer to family and friends (27%) and because they are more familiar with Chinese culture (24%).
  • Filipino adults who say they would move to the Philippines would do so for the lower cost of living (47%) and to be closer to friends or family (35%).
  • Half of Indian adults who say they would move to India would do so because of its lower cost of living (52%).
  • Korean adults who say they would move to South Korea would do so for better health care (24%) and to be closer to family and friends (22%).
  • Vietnamese adults who say they would move to Vietnam would do so for its lower cost of living (35%) and to be closer to friends and family (32%).