Overview of Chinese Demographics in America

The Chinese American community is the largest ethnic group of Asian Americans, comprising of 22.4% of the Asian American population. They constitute 1.2% of the United States as a whole. In 2006, the Chinese American population numbered approximately 3.6 million.

As a whole, Chinese American populations continue to grow at a rapid rate due to immigration. However, they also on average have birth rates lower than those of White Americans, and as such their population is aging relatively quickly. In recent years, adoption of young children, especially girls, from China has also brought a boost to the numbers of Chinese Americans, although most of the adoptions appear to have been done by white parents.

Chinese Demographics in America - Facts

Largest Asian American group with a population of 2,422,970 (Chinese only).

About 1.68 million Asians reported more then one Asian group or race in Census 2000 and are not included in these numbers. Actual number of Chinese would thus be more.

Population growth rates of 47.5% from 1990 to 2000 and 104.1% from 1980-1990.

Chinese Demographics in America - Leading US States

The leading States for Chinese Americans are California, New York, Hawaii, Texas and New Jersey. Together these five States constitute more then 80% of the Chinese American population with 40% being in California alone.

California 1,122,187
New York 451,859
Hawaii 170,803
Texas 121,588
New Jersey 110,263
Massachusetts 92,380
Illinois 86,095
Washington 75,884
Florida 59,280
Pennsylvania 56,831

Chinese Demographics in America - Incomes

Median Household Income of $41,583.

Average Chinese household income is about 30% higher then the national average.

Chinese Demographics in America - Immigration

Immigrant (native Chinese) population is 47% of Chinese American population.

Chinese Demographics in America - Home Ownership

Home ownership rate of 65% compared to 54% for US average.

About 84% of Chinese Americans between ages 35-44 own a home.

Chinese Demographics in America - Household Size

Average household size of 3.8 people per household compared to 3.2 for US.

Chinese Demographics in America - Education

38% have Bachelors degree or higher compared to 22% for national average.

Locations of Chinese Americans

Cities with large Chinese American populations include (the following is the top 15 Chinese-American populations):

* Boston, Flushing, Queens, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Houston, Plano in the Dallas, Texas area, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, Sacramento and Las Vegas.

In these cities, there are often multiple Chinatowns, an older one and a newer one which is populated by immigrants from the 1960s and 1970s. In some areas, Chinese Americans maintain close relationships with other Asian groups (i.e. Koreans, Filipinos, Vietnamese and so on).

In addition to the big cities, smaller pockets of Chinese Americans are also dispersed in rural towns, often university-college towns, throughout the United States. Chinese Americans formed nearly 3 percent of California's population in 2000, and over one percent in the Northeast. Hawaii, with its historically heavily-Asian population, was nearly 10 percent Chinese American.

Language of Chinese Americans

Chinese, mostly of the Cantonese variety, is the third most-spoken language in the United States, almost completely spoken within Chinese American populations and by immigrants or the descendants of immigrants, especially in California. Over 2 million Americans speak some variety of Chinese, with the Standard Mandarin becoming increasingly more prevalent due to immigration from mainland China and Taiwan.

In New York City at least, although Mandarin is spoken as a native language among only ten percent of Chinese speakers, it is used as a secondary dialect among the greatest number of them and is on its way to replace Cantonese as their lingua franca. In addition, the immigration from Fujian is creating an increasingly large number of Min speakers.

Although Chinese Americans grow up learning English, some teach their children Chinese for a variety of reasons: pride in their cultural ancestry, desire for easy communication with them and other relatives, and the perception that Chinese will be a very useful language as China's economic strength increases.

Also see Chinese Demographics in California