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Migration of Hmong to Rochester, Minnesota: Life in the Midwest

Author(s): Cathleen Jo Faruque

Journal: Hmong Studies Journal
ISSN 1091-1774

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2003;
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Keywords: Hmong Americans | Asian American Studies

This study was designed to investigate one of the newest refugee groups to the Midwestern United States, the Hmong refugees from Laos, China, Vietnam and Thailand. This study broadly examines how multigenerational Hmong families are adjusting and adapting to life in Rochester, Minnesota. The following questions guided this study: (1) What effect does non-voluntary migration have on the acculturation levels as measured by cultural awareness and ethnic loyalty of the Hmong in Rochester, Minnesota? (2) How do the Hmong perceive their host Anglo culture? (3) How do the Hmong adjust to their host social system in the United States? (4) How much do Hmong learn about their new environment? (5) How do the Hmong retain traditions within in the United States?Qualitative interviewing through in-depth individual interviews and participant observation was the method of data collection. Participants were recruited through purposive sampling, volunteering, and snowball sampling techniques. Criteria for inclusion in this study were: 1) Being Hmong; 2) Residing in Rochester, Minnesota, and; 3) Being at least 13 years of age or older. Grounded theory methodology was the primary tool of data analysis.The findings clearly demonstrated that the Hmong subjects interviewed for this study showed a high degree of discrepancy between the acculturation levels based on age and country of origin from point of migration. This discrepancy has created an acculturation gap, which is related to the younger Hmong’s increased identification with the American culture and their decreased identification with their family’s culture of origin. This shift has created family difficulties and communication gaps between the generations.

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