Who am I?  I am ethnic, yet not ethnic enough! I am Australian, yet not Australian enough! I am becoming Australian, yet so different! I am a very complex individual, I am a 1.5er!

‘1.5’ generation refers to immigrants who have come in with their parents either as children or at most as teenagers. They bring with them faint memories of their home countries and spend their formative years in Australia.   

“…(These) are people who belong to more than one world, speak more than one language (literally and metaphorically), inhabit more than one identity, have more than one home, who have learned to negotiate and translate between two cultures” – Stuart Hall- Cultural Theorist/Sociologist.

The ‘in-between’ generation are able to immerse into their new country, unlike their parents. They attend local schools, mingle with Australian peers, learn to speak the local language and grow up with an intimate knowledge of their new country’s culture. However, at the same time, they also grow up with the values and traditions of their birth country. In the family home, their parents and grandparents try to retain their origin culture and a sense of stability amidst an environment of change.

So while they might be comfortable negotiating their academic and career paths outside their homes, once inside their homes they revert to the family’s customs, traditions and expectations. They lead a unique hyphenated identity quite unlike the ‘regular’ youth who can trace their ancestry back to 3 or more generations in Australia.

So you see, our identities are much more complex than defined by simple demographics or language usage. So while we may act like the other ‘Aussie’ youth, speak English without an accent, there are still vast differences. Differences that are deeply rooted to our respective country of origin culture. The difference is in the value systems passed down from our parents and origin  culture, traits like a strong belief in family first, frugality, education and community.

The spend patterns of 1.5ers are very much reflective of this dichotomy. Cultural patterns dominate the purchase decisions…be it financial, wealth or health! Or else why would a 1.5 generation immigrant youth barely 25 years old think of saving to buy a property investment, now that THEY HAVE A FULL TIME JOB!

Marketers would do well to know that a sizeable number of 1.5 Gens are now getting married and growing up. Where we used to think nothing of spending $200 on a pair of jeans, our priorities will change as life turns to investments and wealth creation fuelled by our parents ambitions. Our entertainment continues to be deep rooted to our origin. We delve into our community publications to access latest country of origin news and for entertainment! Marketers may do well to be present at Sydney Olympic Park at the K-Pop (Korean Pop) festival happening on the 12th of November! See you there!

By Raji Kumar

Leave a Reply