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Five passing references to "Bahai" — but in a statistical context only — about whether the large influx of Iranians into LA in the late 1970s added a sizeable and distinctive minority to the population of this metropolitan area.
Later published under shortened title "Are the Characteristics of Exiles Different from Immigrants?" in Sociology and Social Research 71:2 (January 1987), pp. 77-82.

See also Experience of Iranian Bahá'í Refugees in Atlantic Canada.

Document online at [].

Are the Characteristics of Exiles Different from Immigrants?:
The Case of Iranians in Los Angeles

by Georges Sabagh and Mehdi Bozorgmehr

published in Institute for Social Science Research Working Papers, 2:5
                      About the Author.                                                
                      Georges Sabagh is Professor of Sociology                         
                      and Director of the von Grunebaum Center                         
                      for Near Eastern Studies at UCLA.  Mehdi                         
                      Bozorgmehr is a doctoral student in the                          
                      Department of Sociology and an affiliate                         
                      of the von Grunebaum Center.                                     
                      The research described here is currently                         
                      funded under a grant from the National                           
                      Science foundation.  Georges Sabagh is                            
                      Principal Investigator on the project;                           
                      Ivan Light, Professor of Sociology, UCLA                         
                      is co-Principal Investigator; and                               
                      Mehdi Bozorgmehr is Project Director,                            
                      Another version of this paper is being                           
                      published in the January, 1987 edition                           
                      of Sociology and Social Research.                                
                      This paper is one of a  series presented                         
                      at the Conference on Minorities in the                           
                      Post-Industrial City, held in  May, 1986                         
                      at UCLA. Ten  papers from  the Conference                         
                      are available through the ISSR Working                         
                      Papers Series.                                                   
       The large  influx of Iranians  into  Los   Angeles  since the second half of
 the 1970s  has  added  a sizeable and   distinctive  minority to the population of
 this metropolitan area.  According to  the  1980  U.S. Census,  about a quarter of
 the  nation's Iranian population resided  in  Los Angeles,2  making it the largest
 single concentration  of Iranians in  the  United  States.  In  spite of the rapid
 growth  of  the  Iranian  population  in   Los  Angeles  and  the  U.S., published
 material  on  this immigrant group is  meager (Ansari 1977;  Askari  et  al. 1977;
 Gilanshah  1986; Iran  Times 1983, 1984;  Lorentz and Wertime  1980;  Momeni 1984;
 Moslehi 1984).                                                                           
       One  of  the  distinctive features  of   Iranian immigration to  the  United
 States  and  Los  Angeles is that it occurred before  and  after a revolution that
 altered  substantially  social  and political  conditions   in Iran.  It  may   be
 argued  that    these  two  groups  of  immigrants had  very different motives for
 leaving  their  country,   thus resulting  in  different statistical profiles  for
 each  group.  The  later wave must have included  a substantial  number of politi-
 cal  refugees and exiles as contrasted  to  the  earlier wave of students and eco-
 nomically   motivated immigrants.   While Iranians who arrived in  the  U.S. after
 the Iranian revolution were not officially  admitted  as  "parolees"  or refugees,
 the lives  and welfare of many of them were affected just  as  adversely   as  the
 well-being    of  the official refugees from  Cuba  or  Vietnam.   Therefore,  the
 status  of  Iranian  exiles  has  a  sociological rather than a legal or political
 basis (Suhrke 1983).                                                                     
       The  main  objective  of   this  paper is  to use the Iranian  case to  test
 three   hypotheses  about the demographic,  religious,  and  socioeconomic differ-
 ences  between  immigrants and political refugees or  exiles,  which  are commonly
 found  in  the  literature.  These  hypotheses will  be tested  by using data from
 the  1980 U.S. Census  Public Use Microdata  Sample for the 1975-80  and  the pre-
 1975  Iranian immigrant  cohorts.    While  the  pre-1975 cohort  includes  mainly
 Iranians who came  to  the  United States  for study,  for a  visit, or  for work,
 the  1975-80 cohort is made  up of  these types  of immigrants  as well  as exiles
 or  political  refugees  who  fled  Iran after  the 1978 revolution. Of course, if
 census  data  were  available  by  single  year of immigration,  we   would   have
 selected  instead  the  post-revolution  period of 1978-80 and  the pre-revolution
 years  prior  to  1978.  Nevertheless,  because the Immigration and Naturalization
 Service  (INS)  data indicate  that  over  half of Iranian arrivals during 1975-80
 occurred  after  the  revolution,3   it  may  be assumed that  half of this recent
 cohort is made up of exiles or political refugees.                                  
         The  differences in  the demographic, social, and economic characteristics
 of  economic  immigrants and  political refugees or exiles have been  discussed or
 documented  in  a number  of studies  ( Bernard 1976; Fagen et al.  1968; Gaertner
 1955;  Nelson  and  Tienda  1985; Pedraza-Bailey 1985; Portes and Bach  1985; Rogg
 1974).  As  stated  by  Portes  and  Bach (1985:73), "refugees have been described
 as  internally  homogeneous  groups,  since  reasons for their  flight  are  often
 linked  to  a  common  class  origin,  religion, or political ideology."  While an
 exile or  refugee migration   stream  may   be selective  of   only one religious,
 ethnic,  or  political  group, within  that group  we expect to find little selec-
 tivity  demographically  and  socioeconomically.  In  other words,  even though  a
 refugee  stream  as  whole  is  homogeneous with  respect to a given group, within
 that  group  we  expect  heterogeneity.   This does not constitute a contradiction
 in empirical findings as Portes and Bach (1985) appear to argue.                    
         Our  first  hypothesis  is  that  the 1975-80 immigrants include  a higher
 proportion of  religious  minorities   than the pre-1975  immigrants.   It is   in
 accordance  with  Kunz'(1973:139)  hypothesis that in "all mass flights  ethnic or
 other  religious  minorities  participate  beyond their demographic  proportions."
 Consequently,  the    comparisons between   cohorts  should take  into account the
 ethno-religious  identity  of    the  immigrants. In  view of the  radical Islamic
 nature  of  the Iranian  revolution, political refugees and exiles must  have com-
 prised  not  only  Muslim  Iranians  who  opposed the new regime but also  a large
 number  of  non-Muslim  religious minorities who feared persecution.  This pattern
 of selective immigration could not have occurred prior to the revolution.           
         Within  religious  minorities  that are  forced into exile from a country,
 we  would  expect  little  demographic selectivity (Bernard  1976).  Therefore, it
 is  likely,  therefore,  that a  refugee stream  that comprises  religious minori-
 ties  will  also  be  characterized  by a balanced  demographic  structure. Conse-
 quently,  our  second  hypothesis  is that the  1975-1980 cohort,  composed of   a
 large  number  of  refugees, is  much more   balanced  with respect to age and sex
 distribution  than  the  pre-1975  cohort.  This  hypothesis pertains to the whole
 immigration cohort as well as to ethno-religious groups within it.                  
         Despite  their  diversity  in  social  class origin, early waves of exiles
 have  higher  socioeconomic  status  than immigrants (Fagen et al.  1968; Gaertner
 1955;  Peterson   1978;   Rogg  1974, Stein  1981). This  pattern is  difficult to
 ascertain  because  its components  need  to  be disentangled.  The use of occupa-
 tion  and  income  of exiles in the  receiving country  is problematic  because it
 is  affected  by  the migration experience.  In view of the  involuntary migration
 of  exiles  and, in  some cases,  the problem  of compatibility of their skills to
 the  country  of  destination,   they   initially   experience  downward  mobility
 (Briggs  1984;  Chiswick  1979;  Stein 1979).  Thus, data on occupation and income
 of  exiles  in  the receiving  country  may  not  accurately reflect their occupa-
 tional selectivity.  Using  educational attainment as  a  proxy  for social class,
 however,   Pedraza-Bailey  (1985)  shows  that  the  Cuban exiles  who  immigrated
 during  1960-1970   had  a  higher  social class origin than the  Cuban immigrants
 who  came  to the  U.S. in  the  1945-1959 period or before the Cuban  revolution.
 Thus,  our  third  hypothesis  is  that   Iranians  who   arrived in 1975-80 had a
 higher  socioeconomic  achievement than  those  who came  before  that date.  This
 hypothesis    will   be   tested  mainly  by considering educational  achievement.
 Indirect   evidence  pertaining to  this hypothesis,  however, may be provided  by
 an analysis of U.S. Census data on occupation and income.                                    
         The analysis  of data  from  the  1980  U.S. Census on immigration cohorts
 will  be preceded by  a brief review  of  trends  and types of Iranian immigration
 to   the United  States as  documented  by tabulations from the INS.   While these
 tabulations  pertain  only  to  the United States,  they  also reflect immigration
 trends  to Los Angeles, since this metropolitan  area  is  the favored destination
 of Iranian immigrants to the United States.                                                  
 Iranian Immigration Cohorts to the United States, 1950-1980                                  
         Iranian  immigration  to  the  United  States is essentially  a post-World
 War  II   phenomenon   which  can   be  divided  into  two chronological phases or
 cohorts:  1) after World  War  II  until  the Iranian revolution (1950-1977);  and
 2) during and after the Iranian  revolution  until  the  census year  (1978-1980).
 According  to INS  data,  during  the  first phase (1950-1977),  an average annual
 of  1,515 immigrants  and  17,001 nonimmigrants  from  Iran  were admitted  to the
 United   States    (Table  1).   Data  on  nonimmigrants provide information about
 visitors and  students,  both common  types of international  migration  from Iran
 to the United  States.  This phase of Iranian emigration was triggered  by  Iran's
 gradually  recovering  economy after   World  War II  as  its  oil production  and
 revenues resumed.  It coincided with the  beginning of  a  period  of direct  U.S.
 influence in  Iran.  Towards  the end of this  period (1974-1977),  the  explosion
 of   oil  revenues    enabled   many  Iranians   to   come to  the  United States,
 particularly as visitors and students.                                                       
         The    short    second  phase  of Iranian immigration  (1978-1980) can  be
 distinguished from the first phase  in  terms of both  its  increasing volume  and
 the  motives  for   emigration.    The number of Iranian  nonimmigrants  increased
 sharply  to  an  annual average of  112,205 during the one and three quarter years
 for   which   INS   data on   nonimmigrants   are  available between 1978 and 1980
 {Table   1).   The   upward  trend in  Iranian arrivals to the United States after
 1978 suggests  that  after the revolution they included  a substantial  proportion
 of exiles and refugees.                                                                      
         The  number  of  Iranian immigrants, excluding those   with   visitor   or
 student visas, increased to an annual average  of  8,249 (Table  1).  Much of this
 growth,  however,   was due to adjustment  in  status  from  nonimmigrant to immi-
 grant, particularly in the year 1980.   These conversions  reflect the  major mode
 of   resident status attainment among  Iranians;  i.e.,  to enter as nonimmigrants
 (mostly  visitors and students) and  subsequently  to  adjust to immigrant status.
 Adjustment to  immigrant  status   signifies  a  desire  to  settle in  the United
 States among persons who first arrived as visitors or students.                             

 Table   l. Iranian  Immigrants  and  Nonimmigrants  Admitted  to the  United       
              States, 1950-1980.                                                                  
       Year(a)                 Immigrants Admitted           Nonimmigrants Admitted      
       1950                          245                                 644           
       1951                          237                                 826           
       1952                          223                                 804           
       1953                          160                                 839           
       1954                          249                                 871           
       1955                          219                               1,113            
       1956                          227                               1,417            
       1957                          328                               1,723            
       1958                          433                               2,595            
       1959                          409                               3,351            
       1960                          429                               3,705            
       1961                          471                               3,426            
       1962                          601                               3,614            
       1963                          705                               4,685            
       1964                          754                               5,808            
       1965                          804                               5,954            
       1966                        1,085                               5,796            
       1967                        1,414                               6,421            
       1968                        1,280                               9,533            
       1969                        1,352                              11,237           
       1970                        1,825                              14,475           
       1971                        2,411                              14,927           
       1972                        3,059                              18,238           
       1973                        2,998                              22,561           
       1974                        2,608                              30,164           
       1975                        2,337                              35,088           
       1976                        2,700                              54,230           
       TQ1976(b)                   1,031                              28,964           
       1977                        4,261                              98,018           
       1978                        5,861                             130,545           
       1979                        8,476                              65,813(c)        
       1980                       10,410                                 NA(d)          
       Annual Averages                                                                            
       1950-1977                   1,515                             17,001           
       1978-1980                   8,249                            112,205(e)        
  Notes:  (a)     Fiscal definition shifted after 1977 from year ended June 30                    
                  to year ended September 30.                                                     
             (b)  TQ = transition quarter July-September.                                         
             (c)  Excludes the fourth quarter of fiscal year for which data                       
                  were not available.                                                             
             (d)  NA = not available.                                                             
             (e)  For October 1, 1977-December 31, 1979.                                          
 Sources:           Immigration and Naturalization Service (1958-1977,1978-1980).      

 Assessment of the 1980 U.S. Census Data on Iranians in Los Angeles                    
          There is a wide variation in the  estimates of the Iranian  population in
 Los Angeles-Long Beach  SNSA,  which  contains 82  percent of Iranians in the five
 counties (Los Angeles, Orange,  Ventura, San  Bernardino  and  Riverside) included
 in  the present analysis.  The 1980  U.S. Census reported  25,510 (U.S.  Bureau of
 the Census 1983:Table  195).  Time  (1983:22) claimed 200,000,  and  ranked  Iran-
 ians as the  second  largest  ethnic  minority in Los Angeles, Mexicans  being the
 first.   Time's source  for  this  excessive estimate is  unknown,  thus  reducing
 its  reliability.   On the other  hand, it is very  likely   that  the 1980   U.S.
 Census undercounted Iranians.  First,  the census  enumeration took  place  during
 the  Iranian    "hostage  crisis."  Under  those circumstances,  many Iranians may
 have  disguised  their  national  origin in  the Census  questionnaire for fear of
 hostility  and  deportation.  Refusal or disguise  was  probably most common among
 Iranians  who  were  in  violation of their  visas at the time. According  to INS,
 1,203  Iranians  were  deported  for visa violations in  the fiscal  year 1979-80,
 which  was  the  largest  number of deportees for any immigrant group in that year
 (INS  1980:Table  39).   Second,  many  non-Muslim Iranians (especially  Armenians
 and  Assyrians),  may  have  only  reported  their ancestry rather than  place  of
 birth  or  Iranian  origin  in the U.S. Census,  thus reducing the number of Iran-
 ians  enumerated.  However,  in spite of its limitations, the 1980 U.S.  Census is
 the  only  source  of  systematic  demographic  and socioeconomic data on Iranians
 in the United States.                                                                 
          Another feature  of Iranians  is  the presence of a large number  of stu-
 dents.  In 1980,  29  percent of  Iranians  in  Los Angeles were students.4 Census
 data on  the  characteristics of  Iranian  students  and non-students 20 years and
 older indicate   that  despite  their relatively   younger  age,  students have  a
 higher educational  level  than non-students.  Students  also  are more  fluent in
 English.  Not surprisingly,  Iranian students  do  not do  as well economically as
 non-students.  The former  show   lower  labor  force participation  with  smaller
 proportions holding high   status  jobs.   These factors  combined  with   working
 fewer  weeks  per year  and  a lower self-employment rate result in about  half as
 much  earnings for  students  than non-students  (around  $9,000  as  compared  to
 $17,000  during 1979).  Therefore,  the inclusion  of  students  with non-students
 in  any  analysis of  Iranians  distorts the statistical profile of this minority.
 It  leads  to younger  age  distribution,  greater  knowledge  of  English,   less
 reliance  on self-employment,   lower occupational  profile,  and  markedly  lower
 levels of income.                                                                     
          Iranians  in  Los  Angeles  are  composed  of  several distinctive ethno-
 religious sub-groups, such  as Muslim,  Bahai, Jewish,  Zoroastrian,  Armenian and
 Assyrian.  Compared  to  their   population   size in  Iran, non-muslim  religious
 minorities  appear  to  be  overrepresented  among  Iranians  in this metropolitan
 area.  Unfortunately,  since  the  U.S. Census  has no  questions on religion  and
 the  tabulations  of  the  1980  Census  question  on ancestry explicitly excluded
 religion,  it  is  impossible  to  identify  all of these sub-ethnic groups in the
 1980  U.S.  Census.  Only a  non-governmental sample survey could do so. Neverthe-
 less,  the  new  question on ancestry,  introduced for the first  time in the 1980
 Census,  makes  it  possible  to identify  persons of Armenian ancestry and class-
 ify  Iranians  into  two sub-groups:  Armenians and non-Armenians. The latter sub-
 group  is,  of  course, heterogeneous  and  includes all the other ethno-religious
 groups  mentioned  above.  Although  the  ancestry  question   also   allows us to
 identify  other  sub-ethnic  groups  such as Assyrians,   Kurds  and Turks,  these
 ethnic  groups  are  included  in  the non-Armenian category  because they are too
 smalll to warrant a separate analysis.                                                  
 Minority, Demographic, and Educational Characteristics of Immigration Cohorts          
         Data  from  the  1980  U.S.  Census allow  us to test the three hypotheses
 about  the  differences  between  minority,  demographic,  and educational charac-
 teristics of the pre-1975 and the 1975-80 non-student immigration cohorts.             
         There  appear to be proportionately  more minorities  in the  1975-80 than
 the  pre-1975  cohort.  While  the  percentage of  Armenians increased  only  from
 24.4 in   the pre-1975   cohort to 28.8 in   1975-80 cohort,   this increase   was
 statistically  significant  at the 5 percent level (calculated  from Table  3). If
 the  census data had also enabled us to  identify Iranian  Jews and  Bahais, there
 would  have been a much greater  increase  in  the  minority composition  of these
 two immigration cohorts. Thus there is clear support for the first hypothesis.         
         Tables  2 and 3 provide support for  the second  hypothesis as  it applies
 to  all  refugees  as  well  to  specific  religious minorities within the refugee
 stream.  For  all  non-students,  the  sex  ratio  drops  sharply from 153 for the
 pre-1975 cohort to 97 in 1975-80  (calculated from  data given  in Table  2), thus
 suggesting  that  Iranian  exiles  tend  to  have a more balanced sex distribution
 than other immigrants.  Also,  both  men  and  women  who arrived  in 1975-80 were
 not only younger on the average than those  who came  before 1975  but had  also a
 more  balanced  (or  heterogeneous) age distribution  as  measured by the standard
 deviation.  The  increase  in  the standard  deviation of age  between the earlier
 and later cohorts, however, is only statistically significant for men.                 
         Since  there  are marked differences  between Armenians and non-Armenians,
 the  contrast  between pre-1975 and  1975-80  immigrants within  these  sub-groups
 should  be  even  greater than for all Iranians.  Among non-Armenians, the 1975-80
 migration  cohort  is  much more balanced in terms of  sex ratio  and age than the
 earlier  cohort,  thus suggesting less migration  selectivity  for the more recent
 migrants.  The  sex  ratio dropped sharply from 193 to  95 men  per 100 women, and
 the  mean  age  decreased from 39.2  to  35.8 years  (Table  3).   What  is   more
 significant,  however,  is that the  standard deviation  of age increased markedly
 from 11.0  to  16.5.  It is clear that,  among non-Armenians,  the cohort with the
 large number  of  refugees was  much  more balanced  demographically than the pre-
 1975   immigrants.   Among  Armenians,   the  demographic   differentials  between
 cohorts are  similar  to those  for non-Armenians, but  are surprisingly much less
 marked.  It should  be noted,  however, that the sample  for Armenians who arrived
 before  1975 is  small.  While these results are consistent  with the second hypo-
 thesis,  they fail  to  suggest a  higher demographic heterogeneity among minority
 than  non-minority refugees  or exiles.  But,  as  pointed out earlier,  the  non-
 Armenian category itself includes religious minorities.                                
         One  interpretation  of  these  findings is that, over time, all immigrant
 streams  become  more  balanced  demographically because of family  reunification.
 But,  family  reunification  assumes  that  immigrants  have acquired citizenship.
 It  appears   that  this   interpretation does   not  apply to Iranian immigrants,

 Table 2. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of Iranians who  immigrated         
          in 1975-80 and those who immigrated before 1975, male  and   female  non-         
           students, Los Angeles, 1980.                                                               
 Characteristics         Male Non-students    Sig.    Female Non-students    Sig.
                           Immigrated          of         Immigrated         of
                        1975-80  Before 1975  Diff.   1975-80   Before 1975  Diff.                  
 Mean age                 38.1      39.0(a)    NS      36.3      43.5(a)     S**        
 Standard deviation       18.0      11.0       S**     15.4      14.0        NS         
 Percent who know English                                                                             
 well or very well        70.2      94.4       NS       59.7     67.2        NS      
 Mean years of education  14.3      18.1       S**      12.9     14.9        S**     
 Percent with four or                                                                                 
   more years college     43.3      80.0       S**      26.7     43.0        S**     
  Percent in labor force  54.6      87.8       S**      19.8     42.1        S**     
 Percent in top white                                                                                 
   collar occupations     28.5      53.7       S**       9.1     18.7        S*      
   Prestige Score(1)       213       201       NS        100     187         S**     
   N                      (298)     (164)               (307)   (107)                
 Weeks worked in 1979       37        45       S**       35       39         NS      
   N                      (157)     (143)               (54)     (45)                 
 Percent self employed                                                                                
   (including unpaid                                                                                  
   family work)           34.0      27.9       NS       11.3      8.3        NS      
   N                      (215)     (174)               (97)      (60)                 
 Mean income from all                                                                                 
   sources 1979        $17,264   $25,629       S**   $ 7,627   $ 9,442       NS      
   N                     (203)      (153)                (97)      (65)                  
 Mean  wage  or salary                                                                                
   income 1979         $15,604   $23,676       S**   $ 5,858   $11,299       S**     
   N                      (125)     (123)                (51)      (42)                  
 Mean interest or                                                                                     
   net rental income   $ 8,940   $ 2,892       S**   $ 7,212   $ 1,638       S*      
 N                        (70)       (61)                (35)      (16)                
 Notes:  (1)  The lower the score, the higher the occupational prestige.                              
           (a)  These  figures  are  for  age  in  1980.  The  age at emigration is                
 substantially lower for this cohort                                                                  
           S*   Differences significant at the .05 level.                                             
           S**  Differences significant at the .01 level.                                             
 Source:                   Public Use Microdata Sample from the 1980 U.S. Census.                     

 Table  3. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of Iranians who immigrated           
             in  1975-80  and  those who immigrated  before 1975, Armenian and Non-           
             Armenian non-students, Los Angeles, 1980.                                                 
 Characteristics           Armenian Non-students       Non-Armenian(1) Non-students          
                                                 Sig.                          Sig.            
                              Immigrated         of         Immigrated         of
                          1975-80  Before 1975   Diff.  1975-80  Before 1975   Diff.                
 Hales and females                                                                                     
 N                         (174)       (66)              {431)      (205)                  
 Percent male               50.6       43.9      NS      48.7        65.9      S**         
 Mean age                   40.6       45.8(a)   NS      35.8        39.2(a)   S*          
 Standard deviation         16.9       15.1      NS      16.5        11.0      S**         
 Percent who know English                                                                              
   not well or not at all   37.3       20.0      S**     34.0         9.4      S**     
 Percent with four or                                    
   more years of college    24.2       33.2      S*      39.2        68.4      S**     
   N                        (88)       (29)              (210)      (135)                   
 Mean years of education    13.6       17.1      S**     14.6        18.3      S**     
 Percent in labor force     51.9       79.3      S**     55.8        89.6      S**     
 Percent occupational distribution                                                                    
   Admin., managerial                                                                                 
      and professional      22.7       51.8      S*      46.9        58.7      S*      
      Technical and sales   19.7       22.2      NS      22.1        16.7      NS      
      Clerical              16.7        3.7      NS       4.0         4.0      NS      
      Service                3.0        3.7      NS       2.7         6.3      NS      
   Craft, operatives                                                                                  
           and laborers     37.9       18.2      S*      24.2        14.3      S*      
 Percent self-employed                                                                                 
   (including unpaid                                                                                   
   family work)             33.3       25.0      NS      34.2        28.6      NS      
   N                        (66)       (28)              (149)       (126)                  
 Mean family income                                                                                                                                                                             
      1979               $19,402    $35,965      S**  $24,536     $32,196      S**       
      N                     (69)       (27)              (159)       (101)                   
 Mean income from                                                                                      
   all sources 1979      $14,180    $24,486      S**  $18,620     $25,885      S**       
 N                          (62)       (28)              (141)      (125)                   
 Mean wage or salary                                                                                   
      income 1979        $ 9,373    $20,200      S**  $17,932     $24,351      S**       
      N                     (34)       (20)               (91)      (103)                   
 Mean interest or                                                                                      
 net rental income       $12,970    $ 3,470      S**  $ 7,328     $ 2,778      S*        
 N                          (20)       (10)               (50)       (51)                   
  Notes: (1)   Includes Assyrians, Bahais, Jews, Kurds, Muslims, Turks, and Zoroas-                   
                These  figures  are  for  age  in  1980.  The  age  at migration is                  
                substantially lower for this cohort.                                                   
          S*    Differences significant at the .05 level.                                              
          S**   Differences significant at the .01 level.                                              
 Source:        See Table 2.                                                                           

 since  only  10  percent  of all persons born in Iran and residing in  Los Angeles
 had been naturalized by 1980.                                                            
         Using  educational  achievement as  a proxy for socioeconomic achievement,
 the  evidence  given  in  Tables 2 and 3 clearly contradicts the third hypothesis.
 Between  the    pre-1975  and   the  1975-80  cohorts, the mean years of education
 decreased  from  18.1 to  14.3 for  men  and  from  14.9 to  12.9 for  women. This
 decline  in  educational level  is   statistically  significant for  both men  and
         For both Armenians and  non-Armenians,  there is  a noticeable  decline in
 educational  achievement  between   the   two  migration cohorts.   For the larger
 group of  non-Armenians,  the percent with "five  or  more   years   of   college"
 decreased  markedly  from 64.0 to 36.2  in  the same period  (Table   3).  Similar
 differences   were observed  for  Armenians.  These findings indicate  that  those
 who  arrived  in 1975-80  included more  elements of   Iran's population  such  as
 women  and  older persons who  were less likely to  have  a graduate school educa-
 tion.  It  may  be noted that  the lower levels of education of the 1975-80 cohort
 was  accompanied by  a lesser  knowledge  of   English.  Thus,  for non-Armenians,
 the  percentage "knowing English not  well or not  at  all"  increased drastically
 from  9.4  in pre-1975 to 34.0 in 1975-80 periods (Table 3).  This pattern  may be
 indicative  of either a lower socioeconomic  status   or  lesser acculturation  of
 the  1975-80 cohort.  Nevertheless, Iranian migrants as  a whole probably  have  a
 better command of  English  and  more education than  most other immigrants in Los
 Angeles.  For example,  34.2  percent of Iranians completed more than  four  years
 of  college compared  to  30.2  percent for  foreign-born  Koreans,  a highly edu-
 cated  immigrant group.  Furthermore,  10.7 percent of Iranians  had little or  no
 knowledge of  English,  a  level  much  lower  than the comparable  figure of 39.2
 for Koreans.5                                                                            
         While  the  findings  on education contradict our  third hypothesis,  they
 undoubtedly    reflect the fact  that education   increases   with   duration   of
 residence in the United States.  Also,  the  pre-1975  cohort of non-students must
 have  included  many  Iranians who obtained their  college education in the  1960s
 and the mid-1970s.                                                                       
 Occupational and Income Characteristics of Immigration Cohorts                           
         We  shall   examine  now  the differences in occupational achievement  and
 income between the  two  immigration  cohorts and  consider the  relevance of  our
 findings to the third hypothesis (Tables  2  and  3).  For men, occupational level
 and  income  is  much  higher  for  those who came before 1975 than those who came
 during  1975-80.  The  only  difference  in  favor of  the exiles  is interest and
 rental  income  which  is three times higher (around  $9,000)  than for immigrants
 (about $3,000). The pattern is similar for women.                                        
         The  comparisons of occupational status and income for  Armenians and non-
 Armenians  will  be limited to males (Table  3).  A comparable analysis  could not
 be carried out for women because of their small number in the sample.                    
         For  both  Armenians  and non-Armenians, the  distribution  of occupations
 differs  appreciably between the  pre-1975 and  the 1975-80  period.   For  Armen-
 ians,  the   percentage in the  two top  occupations (administrative,  managerial,
 and  professional)  decreased  noticeably  from 51.8 to 22.7 and the percentage in
 the  two    bottom occupations  (craft,  operatives,   and   laborers)   increased
 markedly  from 18.5  to 37.9.  A  similar though  less marked  trend may  be noted
 for  non-Armenians.  One unexpected finding is the  high level  of self-employment
 among  Iranians  in  Los Angeles,  almost  irrespective   of   group   or   period
 (Table  3).    The  percentage   of  Armenian  males   reporting   self-employment
 increased  from 25.0  to  33.3  between pre-1975 and  1975-80.  For  non-Armenians
 the  comparable figures  are  28.6  and 34.2 percent. These  self-employment rates
 suggest  that  all Iranians,  whether Armenians or  non-Armenians  and  exiles  or
 immigrants,  share in  common  with many  other immigrant  groups a  high reliance
 on  self-employment as  a form  of economic  adaptation  in  the   United   States
 (Light 1984).                                                                        
         Both  Armenian  and  non-Armenian  males   who   arrived   in  1975-80 had
 substantially lower mean  1979  incomes  than  those who immigrated  earlier. Mean
 income  dropped  from  $24,486 in pre-1975  to  $14,180  in 1975-80  for Armenians
 and  from  $25,885  to  $18,620 for non-Armenians in  the  same period  (Table 3).
 There  is  a  similar  trend  for  mean  wage or salary income. These lower income
 levels  of    men  in 1975-80  may   be explained,  in part, by  the fact that the
 revolution  and  subsequent emigration impaired  the earning  ability of those who
 left  at  that  time.  It  may also be explained  by lower educational achievement
 and  the  lesser  hours of  work for recent immigrants.  An interesting finding in
 Table  3  is  that  while mean income from  wages or salaries declined between the
 two  migration  periods for  both  groups,  the opposite  is  true for mean income
 from  interest  or  net rental  income.  Mean  income  from   the  latter   source
 increased  from  $3,470 to  $12,970  for  Armenians and from  $2,779 to $7,328 for
 non-Armenians.  These figures  imply  that  Iranians who  arrived  in 1975-80  had
 much  more  capital  at their  disposal  than  those who immigrated earlier. Given
 the  short  length of stay of  this cohort  in the U.S.; it  is unlikely to attri-
 bute  the  availability of  capital  to  savings  in  the U.S., rather it reflects
 bringing  in  capital from  Iran.  The  greater  availability of capital may  be a
 distinctive  feature of  some  exile  or  refugee  groups  compared  to   economic
         In  assessing  the meaning  of  the substantial differences in mean income
 between  Iranian  males  who came  before  1975  and  those who arrived after that
 date, we  need  to  establish whether  or not   these   differences remain   after
 controlling  for  the  effects of  relevant  variables.  A multiple classification
 analysis  was  carried  out separately  for  Armenian and  non-Armenian  males  16
 years  of  age and  over who reported that  they worked 40 hours  or more per week
 in 1979  (Table 4).   In  order  to increase   the  sample  size, this  population
 included  students  who  worked full-time.  Income  from all  sources for males is
 the  dependent  variable and the  independent variables are age,  education, know-
 ledge of  English,  occupational status,  self-employment,  and  year  of immigra-
 tion.  The   results are  strikingly  different for  Armenians   compared to  non-
 Armenians.  Mean  income dropped  sharply  from  $26,950  for Armenians  who  came
 before  1975  to  $16,430 for those who  arrived after 1975. After controlling for
 the  effects  of    the  five independent    variables, the decline in mean income
 remained  as great (from  $25,130  to $17,860).  For non-Armenians, the unadjusted
 mean  incomes  are $28,510 and $23,520,  and the  means adjusted for the effect of
 the  other variables  are $26,440  and  $25,930.  Thus,   these  variables,   that
 usually  explain levels  of income  of  males,  have little  effect on income dif-
 ferences  for  the two Armenian  migration cohorts.  On the  other hand, they seem
 to  explain  all  of  the  differences for non-Armenians. It should be  noted that
 all six  variables  explain  much  more  of  the  variance   of  Armenians' income
 (50 percent) than that of non-Armenians' (35 percent).                               

 Table  4. Multiple  classification  analysis of income from  all sources  in 1979,                
                 Armenians and Non-Armenians, males age 16 and  over and working 40                
                 hours a week or more, by year of immigration, Los Angeles, 1980.                       
        Variables                    Armenians                    Non-Armenians(l)               
                             Unadjusted      Adjusted         Unadjusted   Adjusted             
                             means           means(2)         means        means(2)            
        Year of                                                                                         
        1975-80              $16,430         $17,860         $23,520       $26,440
             N               (28)             (28)            (90)          (90)
        Before 1975          $26,950         $25,130         $28,510       $25,930
            N                (22)             (22)            (102)         (102)
        R2                                    .50                            .35     
 Notes:  (1) Includes  Assyrians,  Bahais,  Jews,  Kurds,  Muslims,  Turks,  and                        
         (2) For the adjusted means, the effects of age, education, knowledge                                                                                                         
                     of English, self-employment and occupation are controlled.                         
 Source:             See Table 2.                                                                       
         The fact that timing of migration has a strong  net effect  on Armenians'                      
 income could be interpreted in terms  of exile  status. It  is in  agreement with                      
 the  findings  by  Chiswick (1979)  that  political  refugees  or  exiles  cannot                      
 translate their  education and  labor market  experience  from   the country   of                      
 origin into earnings as easily as immigrants. It  is likely  that as  a predomin-                      
 antly exile  population, Armenians  arrived mostly  after the  Iranian revolution                      
 of 1978.  Considering the small Ns  for Armenians,  however, we  have to  be cau-                      
 tious in interpreting these findings.                                                                  
         The fact that timing of migration has  little net  effect on  the earning                      
 ability of non-Armenians can be considered  to confirm  the third  hypothesis. If                      
 we  were able  to control  for the  general tendency  of socioeconomic  status to                      
 increase  with  longer  residence in  the United  States, it  is likely  that the                      
 income of the 1975-80 cohort would  have been  greater than  that of  the earlier                      
 one. While  all exiles  have  lower  educational levels   than immigrants,   some                      
 exiles may have more funds at  their disposal  and achieve  a higher  income than                      
                                 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS                                        
         Annual data from the Immigration and Naturalization Service were  used to                      
 identify  two  broad phases  of Iranian  migration to  the United  States, before                      
 and after the Iranian revolution  of 1978.  Between the  first and  second phase,                      
 the  average annual  number of  Iranian immigrants  increased about  fivefold and                      
 nonimmigrants nearly sevenfold. While  most of  those who  came before  1978 were                      
 permanent   or temporary  immigrants,  the majority of  the non-students and some
 of   the students who arrived after the revolution  may   be   considered to   be
         The Public Use Microdata Sample from the 1980 U.S. Census  was   used  to
 analyze   the demographic and socioeconomic  characteristics of  Iranians in  Los
 Angeles  with a focus on  a comparison between the  1975-1980 and   the  pre-1975
 immigration   cohorts.   While these intervals do not coincide  exactly with  the
 two  phases  of  Iranian immigration, they do provide a  basis for describing the
 characteristics of Iranian migration streams during these phases.                          
         The  analysis of census data for Iranians provides a clear  cut image  of
 the   differences  between  the 1975-80 and the pre-1975 immigration cohorts  for
 both  Armenians  and non-Armenians.   These  findings  reflect  only   partially,
 however, the differences  between immigrants and  exiles.   While the former pre-
 dominate  in  the pre-1975 period,  the latter comprise only  a portion of  those
 who  arrived  during  1975-80.   Furthermore,   the category of  non-Armenians is
 heterogeneous and includes major sub-groups such as Jews, Muslims, and Bahais.             
         Notwithstanding the shortcomings of data from the 1980  U.S. Census,  our
 analysis   gives   preliminary   support for the first and second hypotheses that
 the  1975-80  cohort includes a higher proportion  of religious minorities and is
 much  more balanced with  respect  to age and sex distribution  than the pre-1975
 cohort.  However, the third hypothesis that Iranians  who arrived  in 1975-80 had
 a  higher socioeconomic achievement than those who came before  that date  is not
 corroborated by  the data.  It  is clear that Iranian exiles have  a lower educa-
 tional  attainment  than immigrants.   Given the preponderance of former students
 among  Iranian  immigrants,  this  finding  is not surprising.  The lower occupa-
 tional and   income levels  of  Iranian  exiles than immigrants  may reflect both
 their social    class origin   and  the downward  mobility  of exiles immediately
 after arrival.  Unfortunately, census data  do  not  allow  us to disentangle the
 two.  Only  a  survey  can  resolve this issue and provide a  firm test  of  this
 1.Partial support for this  analysis was  provided by grant #SES-8512007 from the       
  National  Science  Foundation,  and  by a  grant from the Research  Committee of       
  the  Academic Senate,  UCLA.    We  acknowledge the  assistance of Hye-Kyung Lee       
  and the helpful comments of Carolyn Rosenstein.                                         
 2.The Los Angeles metropolitan region comprises the   counties  of  Los  Angeles,
  Orange,  Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino.   It is  identical  to the  Los
  Angeles-Long   Beach-Anaheim  Standard Consolidated  Statistical Area (SCSA)  in
  the  1980 U.S. Census.  The Bureau of the Census  rationale for defining SCSA is
  that    it  includes   "adjoining  SMSA's"  which  "are  themselves socially and
  economically interrelated." See U.S. Bureau of the Census (1982:6-4,A-4).     

 3.Calculated and derived from the INS Annual Report (1980:7) and Table l.            
 4.Some  of  the  Iranians who were non-students in 1980 may have come as students
  rather  than  as  immigrants  before  1975.   While   they  may  have initiallly
  intended to  go  back  to  Iran   after the  completion of  their studies,  they
  changed  their  minds and became de facto expatriates in the  United States as a
  result  of  the Iranian revolution.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to evaluate
  the relative importance of this group, using the census data.  
 5.Data for Koreans were obtained from the analysis of the Public Use Microdata            
  Sample for Los Angeles.                                                                 
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