those of their own ethnicity and while Armenians take interest in the
general welfare of Armenia, a majority would rather stay in the
United States than move back.
The 200-page study, conducted by Garbis Der Yeghiayan, founding
president of Mashdots College in Glendale, attempts to define the
structure of the Armenian community in the United States, and along
with religion, touches on topics such as family, education, politics
and Sept. 11.
"It's about the Armenian-American community coast to coast," Der
Yeghiayan said. "It's about where we are today and what are the
prospects of the Armenian community in America."
The study, which took about two years to complete, bases its
findings on a questionnaire sent to 8,000 Armenian Americans from 22
states, of which 3,000 responded. Der Yeghiayan also did a study in
1991 focusing on Armenian American youth.
And of the key findings, the study shows that while Armenian
Americans are very attached to their traditions and values, the
younger generations are struggling with assimilation and are showing
less interest in attending regular Armenian church services.
"They have not changed drastically from where they come from," Der
Yeghiayan said of the demographic. "They continue to value
But as new generations are growing, they are also changing, and
dealing with the internal and external conflicts of pleasing their
parents and fitting in, he said.
"They have parallel obligations," Der Yeghiayan said. "One, to
their traditions as members of the Armenian community. But they also
want to be recognized as part of the general society."
And this could in part explain the drop in Armenian church
attendance by youth, something the Armenian American community should
be concerned about, Der Yeghiayan said.
Only 1% of Armenian American youth are attending Armenian church
services every Sunday, a significant downtrend since the 12% rate
found in 1991, according to the study.
"Armenians for centuries have been supportive of their churches,"
he said. "But we have to revise and modernize our strategies and see
what the needs are."