Hmong Political Involvement in St. Paul, Minnesota and Fresno, California

Abstract:

This is a comparative study of Hmong political participation in Fresno, CA, and St. Paul, Minnesota, home to the two largest concentrations of Hmong Americans in the U.S. I show that the greater levels of political influence achieved by Hmong Americans in St. Paul can be attributed to a Minnesota context that is favorable to fostering Hmong political involvement. Compared to Hmong in Fresno, Hmong in St. Paul have higher levels of socioeconomic resources and are more visible given their large size relative to other minority groups. They live in a region with consistently high levels of political participation and have political candidates and organizations that devote resources to mobilizing the Hmong community. Findings from this research point to the importance of a politically inclusive culture in facilitating political involvement among immigrants.