A review of the literature over the past 25 years highlights the paucity of research pertaining to Asian American infants. Research focusing on these infants and their families is critical, as the number of Asian American children is increasing substantially in the United States. Currently, approximately one-third of all children in America are children of color, specifically Asian, Hispanic, Native American or African American (Mendoza & Resales, in press). Between 1980 and 1990, the increase in the Asian American population was 107% (Mendoza & Resales, 1998). Moreover, these numbers are expected to continue to escalate. By the year 2010, it is estimated that Asian/ Pacific Islanders will constitute 5.6% of all youth between 14 and 24 years of age in the United States (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1994). Further, projections into the year 2020 indicate that the Asian Pacific population in America will reach approximately 20.2 million.
The accession of Asian Americans in the United States over the past two and a half decades is attributable to both the escalation of Americanborn Asians, as well as to substantial increases in Asian immigration. In the years preceding 1970, the Asian American population was relatively small. However, the 1965 immigration law opened the door to mass immigration from many countries. For instance, more than 200,000 Asian immigrants have entered the United States annually, over the past two decades, accounting for approximately 45% of the total immigration into this country.
As indicated in Chapter Five of this volume, Asia itself is both culturally and ethnically diverse. However, the term “Asian” is often collectively used to refer to Chinese, Japanese, East Indians, and others, without regard for the specific cultural differences among these groups (McAdoo, 1998). Moreover, intraethnic diversity among particular Asian populations is often overlooked. For example, one of the fastest growing minority populations in the United States, and the largest group of Asian Americans, is the