new study about the Chinese American demographic

December 1, 2008

A Portrait of Chinese Americans was a recently-released study published by the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), in a joint venture with the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland. Here are excerpted highlights from AsianWeek’s article, “A Portrait of Chinese America: New Study Suggests Economic Glass Ceiling May Still Exist“:

An economic glass ceiling may still exist for many Chinese Americans who are climbing the income ladder, according to a broad-based social and economic study published this month by the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA).
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Although Chinese Americans are more educated … and the median household income for Chinese American families also outpaces that of the general population … Chinese Americans consistently trail behind their non-Hispanic white counterparts in every pay grade category.

“Contrary to popular beliefs, Chinese Americans often face extra barriers to economic success, despite their educational achievements,” said Larry H. Shinigawa, American Studies professor at the University of Maryland.

… “Time and hard work simply haven’t been enough for Chinese Americans to fully enter into mainstream social and professional circles,” Shinigawa said. “I suspect there are many reasons such as language barriers or simply the difficulties that go along with being identified as an ‘outsider.’ In the long run, increasing mentoring efforts and leadership opportunities can enhance the Chinese American community. You need a pipeline, a network to help young professionals rise to their potential, and increase Chinese American participation in top positions.

… Other interesting findings were that Chinese Americans accounted for 24.3 percent of Asian Americans in the United States, making them the largest ethnic subgroup; 59.5 percent claim mainland China as their country of origin, with 15.9 percent from Taiwan, 15.3 percent from the Chinese diaspora and 9.4 percent from Hong Kong; an estimated 70.2 percent of Chinese Americans are U.S. citizens.

Another interesting find is that 53.8 percent of all Chinese Americans lived in either California or New York, giving the two states the nation’s highest Chinese American populations. Chinese Americans are more likely to be married than the general population and have a lower divorce rate. Slightly more than one in 10 Chinese Americans has a multiracial background.

A Portrait of Chinese Americans provides a 64-page, full color portrayal and analyzes the latest statistics, charts, tables, and maps about the diversity of Chinese Americans and can be downloaded from the AAST website as well as A Snapshot of “A Portrait of Chinese Americans”, which has the key findings from A Portrait of Chinese Americans and includes information on population, residential patterns, employment, income and poverty, education, multiethnicity and multiraciality, and naturalization of Chinese Americans. [free registration required].

The study also identified the top 8 Chinese American Communities: New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Washington, DC; Seattle, WA.

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