comprehensive new report on chinese americans

Yesterday, the University of Maryland's Asian American Studies Program, with support from OCA, released a major new study on Chinese Americans in the United States. Based on extensive U.S. Census data and independent interviews, A Portrait of Chinese Americans offers the most comprehensive and current portrait of the country's diverse Chinese American population: Major Study of Chinese Americans Debunks 'Model Minority' Myth.

According to the study, Chinese Americans, one of the most highly educated groups in the nation, are confronted by a "glass ceiling," unable to realize full occupational stature and success to match their efforts. The returns on Chinese Americans' investment in education and "sweat equity" are "generally lower than those in the general and non-Hispanic White population."

The study also found that the Chinese American community is characterized by extreme diversity. It's split nearly 50-50 between poorly educated recent immigrants from China and a more settled, acculturated, educated and prosperous group of older immigrants and second generation Americans. These earlier arrivals came mainly from Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Among the study's other significant findings about Chinese Americans:
Fastest Growing Immigrant Group: Chinese Americans represent the fastest growing immigrant group in the nation (up 30 percent between 2000 and 2006, the most recent figures).

Largest Asian Ethnic Group: Chinese Americans represent the largest ethnic group among Asian Americans (about 25 percent).

Higher Education Clustering: Chinese Americans cluster in a small number of colleges and universities (about 85 percent of Chinese Americans who go to college cluster at only three percent of all higher education institutions).

High Levels of Higher Education: Twice as many Chinese American adults have college degrees than the general population.

Lacking High School Education: Conversely, recently arrived Chinese Americans represent the largest number of U.S. adults without the equivalent of a high school education.

Occupations: Chinese Americans are more heavily represented in professional and managerial occupations than the general population (53 percent vs. 34 percent).

Industries: Chinese Americans cluster in industries associated with health care, food services, manufacturing and professional/scientific fields.

Pay Equity: Chinese American men earn less in salaries than majority Whites for the same level of education.

Geographic Clustering: 60 percent of all Chinese Americans live in a handful of cities, beginning with New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, as well as the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, the Boston metro area and the Dallas metro area.

Suburban Migration: In the past 20 years, Chinese Americans have settled increasingly away from traditional ethnic enclaves characterized as Chinatowns. Many of the more affluent Chinese Americans now reside in suburban communities commonly known as "ethnoburbs" or mixed "Asiatowns."

Citizenship: Three out of four Chinese Americans are U.S. citizens and exhibit very high rates of naturalization. However, this is less true among the recent immigrants who have been slower to seek citizenship.

Multiethnic/Multiracial: One in ten Chinese Americans are multiethnic and/or multiracial.

Divorce: Once they marry, Chinese Americans tend to stay married - with a divorce rate less than half that of the general population (4.4 percent vs. 10 percent).
The full text of A Portrait of Chinese Americans (including a brief executive summary and conclusions) is available as a downloadable PDF here.

By the way, the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland is one of six universities to receive the Asian American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) grant that was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education for $2.5 million dollars for two years. That's a pretty huge deal: UM Becomes U.S. 'Minority-Serving Institution' for Asian Americans.

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