Recently, Roozbeh Shirazi from Teacher's College at Columbia University conducted a survey in the Iranian-American community that studied the demographics of this affluent and highly educated group. We posted this survey on PersianMirror.
The following is an excerpt from that study:
Popular discourse about Iranian immigration to the United States focuses on the social and political freedoms associated with relocation. The prevailing literature on Iranian immigration explains why people leave Iran, but accounts remain limited to a unilateral force--namely, unfavorable conditions in Iran. Drawing on existing studies of Iranian educational policies and their consequences, we propose an extension to this thesis. We hypothesize that perceived educational opportunity is a significant attraction for Iranians in considering immigration to the U.S.
Emigration Trends and Policy Interventions
Due in part to the deteriorating quality, limited access, and restrictive policies related to higher education, emigration from Iran drastically increased in the years following the Revolution (Hakimzadeh & Dixon, 2006). In the U.S. alone, annual immigration rates peaked at nearly 25,000 for Iranians (see Figure 1). While Iranian immigration to the U.S. is not a new phenomenon (Abdollahi, 1979; Menashri, 1992), emigration rates steadily increased after the formation of the Islamic Republic (Torbat, 2002). According to the U.S. Census 2000, 283,225 Iranian-born immigrants were living in the U.S. by the year 2000 (the majority of which were in California) (2002).
A large percentage of Iranian-born American immigrants are educated and education-bound (see Figures 2 and 3). Over 50,000 are enrolled in schools, 68.8% of which are university students (U.S. Census, 2002). Approximately 51% of the recorded population hold a Bachelors degree or higher, and nearly 87% have a high school diploma or higher. In an independent survey of 3,849 Iranian-Americans, conducted by the Iranian Studies Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 48% responded that education was the single most important factor in deciding to where to live in the U.S. (Iranian Studies Group, 2005).
Policies stemming from the Cultural Revolution have had a great impact on the course of post-revolutionary Iran's educational system. Due to an array of discriminatory and restrictive policies that, in theory, have served to Islamicize Iranian universities and secure the influence of Regime supporters, Iran has witnessed a steady decline in educational quality and a related increase in brain drain. Authors cited in this article (Habibi, 1989; Sakurai, 2004; Sobhe, 1982; Torbat, 2002) point to the severe ramifications of state education policies on the present and future economic, social, and political development of Iran. Moreover, the authors cited here also illustrate the marginalization of many Iranians, while integrating and assimilating others. Despite extensive analysis of admittance capacity, the frustration of non-admitted prospective students, declining numbers of competent faculty and administrators, and increasing rates of brain drain, none of the aforementioned authors have conducted an empirical investigation of educational opportunity as an attractive factor for Iranian immigration to the U.S.
For complete study go to Education & Emigration: The Case of the Iranian-American Community. A study by Sina M. Mossayeb and Roozbeh Shirazi.