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Name Americanization: Economic Payoff vs Cultural Identity

Corey Lee Law - NYC Immigration Attorney > C.T.LEE & Associates Blog  > Name Americanization: Economic Payoff vs Cultural Identity

Name Americanization: Economic Payoff vs Cultural Identity

JANUARY 25, 2019
“Americanization” is a process by which immigrants to the United States attempt to integrate with the local culture. In many cases, immigrants have chosen to “Americanize” their birth names to ones that are more traditionally or popularly American, such as changing “Hans”, “Johan”, and “Ivan” to the more American name “John”. Often, this was done with the intention of making it easier to succeed economically, as anti-immigrant economic bias has existed in the United States since its inception.
But what are the economic rewards to name Americanization? A study conducted by a team of researchers based in the University of Chicago attempted to answer that question. They examined the economic gains of immigrants from the early twentieth century and found that those immigrants who Americanized their names did find greater economic rewards in comparison to similar immigrants who kept their original names. These rewards were often greatest among those who faced the most barriers to entry, and it was stressed that name Americanization was often a signal that immigrants were actively attempting to full integrate into American culture.
But is name Americanization worth it? Names are often major links to our ethnic identities, and America is a country of immigrants. While the economic rewards were real in the early twentieth century, it is potentially more personally beneficial to keep our birth names and maintain our connections to our ancestral homes. It is a decision that every person must make for themselves.
Citation: Biavaschi, C., Giulietti, C., & Siddique, Z. (2017). The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization. Journal of Labor Economics, 35, 1089–1116.
美国化:经济回报与文化认同
“美国化”是美国移民融入当地文化的过程。很多移民会将他们的本名进行“美国化”,例如将“Hans”,“Johan” 或 “Ivan” 这样的名字改为“John”。通常,这样做的目的是使其更容易在经济上取得成功,同时也跟美国自成立以来一直存在的反移民偏见有关。
但是,将美国化命名为经济奖励是什么?芝加哥大学的一个研究小组对二十世纪初移民的经济收益进行了研究,发现那些有美国化名字的移民与保留原名的同类移民相比,确实获得了更大的经济回报,并印证了名字美国化通常是移民积极尝试融入美国文化的信号。
但名字美国化值得推崇吗?姓名通常是我们种族身份的主要象征,美国是一个移民国家,尽管二十世纪初的经济回报确实存在的,但保留我们的出生名称并保持与祖先家园的联系可能更具个人利益和情感。改名还是不改名,只有移民自己为自己做决定了。