MIT Iranian Studies Group Launches the Iranian-American Community Survey 2005


The Iranian Studies Group at MIT is currently in the process of launching the MIT ISG Iranian-American Community Survey 2005, an online survey on the social characteristics of the Iranian-American population.

Cambridge, MA - December 15, 2004 -- The Iranian Studies Group at MIT (ISG)is currently in the process of launching the " Iranian-American Community Survey 2005", an online survey on the social characteristics of the Iranian-American population, and tries to understand the different aspects of the community, including family Characteristics, inter-community and intra-community Interactions, cultural affinities, emotional ties to the homeland, and assimilation in the United States. The survey has been given the go ahead from MIT and is ready to be launched in late December/early January.

According to Farzan Parsinejad, the project manager for the survey project, the need for such a survey came from the realization that the needs, concerns and nature of the Iranian-American community cannot be understood merely by looking at census data or related information. "Community leaders have long realized that despite a history of success stories of Iranian-American individuals, and the high educational and economic status the community has been less cohesive than many other ethnic groups in the U.S", says Parsinejad. "There seems to be a serious shortage of understanding of the Iranian-American community’s needs and concerns, and the obstacles that prevent it from coming together as more cohesive community".

A similar survey was held in the summer of 2004 by a group of Iranian-American organizations with BAI Voters Association taking the lead, focusing on civic participation. This survey would provide additional, complementary information about the community. “By sharing our survey information and resources with other Iranian-American organizations and individuals, we hope to get a better picture of the needs of our community”, adds Parsinejad.

Tens of Iranian-American organizations, academics and community leaders were consulted for designing the survey. Many of them provided feedbacks on its development and design. The survey is to be carried out between January-March 2005, and is scheduled to be repeated annually, to enable the tracking of changes in the community over time. The ISG is looking to reach out to as many Iranian-Americans as possible to fill out the survey. “We hope to spread the word to every possible member of the Iranian-American community, to provide us with their input on their needs and concerns. Every additional response will help us construct a better picture of the needs and views of the Iranian-American community. We urge all Iranian-Americans to forward this to as many of their Iranian-American relatives, friends, colleagues and acquaintances as possible.” says Ali Mostashari, another member of the survey project team. The survey can be accessed at http://web.mit.edu/isg/survey.htm , and will be open to the public by December 15, 2004.

The survey is a follow-up on a series of ISG reports released in February 2004 on the socioeconomic characteristics of the Iranian-American community, which received nation-wide coverage, and was widely publicized within the community.

The Iranian Studies Group at MIT (ISG) is a non-partisan, non-profit, academic organization, recognized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with the aim of promoting Iranian civil society through conducting research on issues related to Iranian native and expatriate societies. ISG research projects focus on the cultural, social, economic, and political development of the Iranian society. By actively publicizing its findings in a format that is accessible for the community at large, ISG aims to bridge the gap between research, public knowledge, and policy-making.

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