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Chinese Become America's Third Largest Minority Group

  • Staff Reporter
  • 2011-02-24
  • 11:32 (GMT+8)
More than half of all Chinese Americans reside in the two states of California and New York. Picture: New York's Chinatown greets the Year of the Rabbit. (Photo/Xinhua)

More than half of all Chinese Americans reside in the two states of California and New York. Picture: New York's Chinatown greets the Year of the Rabbit. (Photo/Xinhua)

The Chinese American population increased rapidly over the past decade, and has shown greater diversity and even bimodalism, according to a new study targeting American Chinese Community.

The Chinese American population increased 33.3 percent during the period between 2000 and 2009, according to a new snapshot of changing features of Chinese American communities released on Feb. 10, which based its analysis on data from Census Bureau's "2009 American Community Survey" and other Census data.

Up to 2009, the total population of Chinese Americans has risen to around 3.64 million, constituting 1.2 percent of the entire US population, said the study titled "A New Profile of Chinese Americans in a New Century." Almost one in every four Asians is Chinese and according to the report, Chinese are expected to reach 6 million in the next 10 years to become the third largest minority group in the US.

Chinese Americans tend to be highly concentrated and cluster in residence, educational attainment and college selection, occupational fields, and industries.

More than half of all Chinese Americans reside in the two states of California and New York, and they cluster together in industries associated with healthcare, food services, manufacturing, and professional or scientific fields.

"We are talking about a time period in which China is also rising as a national power and international player," Larry Shinagawa, director of the AAST, who conducted the study, said at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

"We are seeing them become mayors. For the very first time in recorded history, we now have a mayor of San Francisco who is a Chinese American. We have congresspersons who are Chinese Americans," he said. "What we are seeing is that Chinese Americans are going to the forefront of politics, economics, business, non-profit and education."

The findings of this study showed four general themes of Chinese American communities: diversity, concentration, bimodalism, and low returns on investments.

"Even though Chinese Americans have similarities in core ancestry, languages, Asian and American history, the Chinese American community warrants a more nuanced and in-depth understanding of its diversity," said the study.

It found that Chinese Americans are diversified in terms of place of birth, naturalization and citizenship, marriage patterns and others.

Among Chinese Americans, 35.9 percent were born in the United States, while 64.1 percent were foreign-born. Among the foreign-born Chinese Americans, three-fifths were from China, one in six were from Taiwan, one in twelve were from Hong Kong and Macau, and one sixth originated from elsewhere in the world. Taiwanese Chinese have the highest proportion in owning a university degree (72%) and the high-end jobs; the Chinese Americans from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao have shown polarization in education and employment; and the Chinese from Mainland China were most detached in participating politics.

Nearly seven out of ten Chinese Americans are US citizens. A high proportion of foreign-born Chinese Americans are naturalized and rank third among Asian Americans in the percentage naturalized, the study showed.

The study also highlighted that Chinese Americans are "bimodal" in terms of levels of education and occupation.

While Chinese Americans over 25 have twice as many college degree holders as the general population, this is offset by a significant presence of more Chinese Americans who earn less than a high school diploma than the general population, according to the study.

In terms of employment, the study found that some Chinese Americans cluster within white-collar professional jobs such as computer software developers, managers and administrators, and accountants and auditors. On the other hand, others are concentrated in blue-collar working class jobs such as cooks, waiters or waitresses, and cashiers.

"Many Chinese Americans attain high levels of education and occupational status but lag in their income returns," it noted.

While Chinese Americans have higher median household income and per capita income than that of the general population, they consistently make lower incomes than non-Hispanic Whites in every level of education, it added.

Who's Who

  • Shen Yueyue (沈躍躍)

    Shen Yueyue (沈躍躍)

    Shen Yueyue is a native of Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province.She was born in 1957, joined the CPC in 1981, and graduated from the Ningbo Normal Junior ...