This study is provided by ICPSR. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.

Southeast Asian Refugee Self-Sufficiency Study, 1982 (ICPSR 8454)

Principal Investigator(s): Caplan, Nathan; Whitmore, John K.


This survey gauged the economic and social status of Southeast Asian refugees who arrived in the United States after September 1978, a group generally known as the "Boat People." Special emphasis was placed on investigating how these refugees adapted to life in the United States and achieved economic self-sufficiency. The survey asked about educational and occupational backgrounds, household composition, family size, secondary migration after arrival in the United States, English proficiency, health problems, health care, insurance coverage, employment, earned income, rent payments, automobile ownership, and the use of government and private programs providing income assistance, vocational training, and other kinds of services. Respondents also were queried about financial setbacks incurred since arrival in the United States, financial support of persons living outside the household, membership in clubs and associations, problems faced in adjusting to life in the United States, degree of satisfaction with housing, neighborhood, services received, and life as a whole, and perceptions about prospects for the future.

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


DS1:  Personal Interviews - Download All Files (39.449 MB)
DS2:  Household - Download All Files (1.252 MB)
DS3:  Family - Download All Files (0.48 MB)
DS4:  Respondent - Download All Files (0.878 MB)
DS5:  Other Adult - Download All Files (1.763 MB)
DS6:  Children - Download All Files (0.105 MB)
DS7:  Dictionary Listings and Univariate Statistics for Household, Family, Respondent, Other Adult, and Children
No downloadable data files available.

Study Description


Caplan, Nathan, and John K. Whitmore. Southeast Asian Refugee Self-Sufficiency Study, 1982. ICPSR08454-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1991. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08454.v2

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08454.v2

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS-100-81-0064)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    Boat People, cultural perceptions, economic aid, educational background, family size, government programs, household composition, language, occupations, population migration, public assistance programs, refugees

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1982

Date of Collection:   

  • 1982 (summer and fall)

Universe:    Vietnamese, Sino-Vietnamese, and Lao refugees who arrived in the United States after September 1978.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The data in the hierarchical file (Part 1) are organized into three levels of hierarchy: (1) households, (2) families, and (3) individuals. In all, the data cover 6,775 members of 2,493 families residing in 1,384 households, for a total of 10,652 records of all types. Of the 6,775 family members, 1,384 are respondents, 2,776 are other adults, and 2,615 are children. Level 1 contains 494 variables and has one record per household. Level 2 contains 63 variables and has one record per family. Level 3 has a single record for each individual. It contains 308 variables for respondents, 309 for other adults, and 21 for children. To use these files, users need to refer to the dictionary listings (Part 7) for column locations and to the codebook for code explanations.


Sample:    Probability sample of Southeast Asian refugee households in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Seattle, and Orange County, California. Sampling included area probability samples and probability sampling from administrative lists.

Data Source:

personal interviews


Original ICPSR Release:   1990-03-02

Related Publications


Metadata Exports

If you're looking for collection-level metadata rather than an individual metadata record, please visit our Metadata Records page.

Download Statistics