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Fact Sheet

September 8, 2017

Chinese in the U.S. Fact Sheet

    MORE FACT SHEETS: ASIANS IN THE U.S.

    Chinese population in the U.S., 2000-2015

    Year Population
    2000 2,865,000
    2010 4,010,000
    2015 4,948,000

    Pew Research Center

    English proficiency of Chinese population in the U.S., 2015

    Category English proficient
    All 59%
    U.S. born 92%
    Foreign born 42%
    Adults 53%
    All Asians 70%

    Pew Research Center

    Length of time in the U.S. for Chinese immigrants, 2000-2015

    • All Chinese immigrants
    • All Asian immigrants

    Educational attainment of Chinese population in the U.S., 2015

    Category High school or less Some college Bachelor's degree Postgrad degree
    All Chinese 31% 15% 27% 27%
    U.S. born 14% 20% 41% 25%
    Foreign born 36% 14% 23% 27%
    All Asians 29% 20% 30% 21%
    All Americans 41% 29% 19% 11%

    Pew Research Center

    U.S. Chinese population living in poverty, 2015

    Group All Americans All Asians All Chinese
    All 15.1% 12.1% 14.4%
    U.S. born 14.7% 11.2% 10.5%
    Foreign born 17.8% 12.8% 16.7%

    Pew Research Center

    Top 10 U.S. metropolitan areas by Chinese population, 2015

    City Chinese population
    New York 798,000
    Los Angeles 604,000
    San Francisco 519,000
    San Jose, CA 194,000
    Boston 153,000
    Washington, DC 125,000
    Chicago 124,000
    Seattle 119,000
    Honolulu 114,000
    Houston 99,000

    Pew Research Center

    Demographic characteristics of U.S. Chinese population, 2015

    % (unless otherwise noted)

    Among Chinese in the U.S.
    All Asians
    in the U.S.
    All U.S. born Foreign born
    MEDIAN AGE (in years) 34 36 19 45
    AGE
    Younger than 5 7 6 14 1
    5-17 18 16 33 5
    18-29 19 20 24 17
    30-39 16 14 11 16
    40-49 15 14 7 19
    50-64 16 19 7 26
    65+ 10 12 4 16
    NATIVITY
    U.S. born 41 37 - -
    Foreign born 59 63 - -
    YEARS IN U.S. (among foreign born)
    0-5 years 20 - - 21
    6-10 years 14 - - 13
    11-15 years 13 - - 13
    16-20 years 11 - - 11
    21+ years 42 - - 42
    CITIZENSHIP (among foreign born)
    U.S. citizen 58 - - 58
    Not a U.S. citizen 42 - - 42
    MARITAL STATUS (18 and older)
    Married 59 58 34 65
    Divorced/Separated/Widowed 12 11 7 12
    Never married 30 32 59 23
    FERTILITY (among women ages 15 to 44)
    Women who have given birth in the past 12 months 6 5 4 6
    HOUSEHOLD TYPE, BY PERSONS
    Married-couple household 71 68 70 67
    Other family household 17 16 16 15
    Non-family household 12 16 14 18
    IN A MULTIGENERATIONAL HOUSEHOLD
    Multigenerational household 26 25 21 28

    Note: Family households are those with a household head and one or more persons living in the household who are related to the household head by birth, marriage or adoption. Households with a household head and an unmarried partner are only considered family households if there are other persons in the household who are related to the household head by birth, marriage or adoption. Multigenerational households are households with two or more adult generations or one that includes grandparents and grandchildren. Figures may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Chinese also includes those identifying as Taiwanese. Figures for Chinese and all Asians based on mixed-race and mixed-group populations, regardless of Hispanic origin. See methodology for more detail.
    Source: Pew Research Center analysis of 2013-2015 American Community Survey (IPUMS).

    Pew Research Center

    Economic characteristics of U.S. Chinese population, 2015

    % (unless otherwise noted)

    Among Chinese in the U.S.
    All Asians
    in the U.S.
    All U.S. born Foreign born
    MEDIAN ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME $73,060 $70,000 $86,000 $65,000
    MEDIAN ANNUAL PERSONAL EARNINGS (ages 16 and older with positive earnings)
    All $35,600 $38,000 $40,000 $37,100
    Full-time, year-round workers $51,000 $58,000 $60,000 $55,000
    EMPLOYMENT STATUS (civilians ages 16 and older)
    Employed 61 59 62 58
    Not employed 4 4 4 3
    Not in labor force 35 38 34 39
    UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (civilians ages 16 and older in the labor force) 6.0 5.8 6.4 5.5
    LIVING IN POVERTY
    All ages 12.1 14.4 10.5 16.7
    Younger than 18 12.0 10.4 9.2 16.6
    18-64 12.1 15.3 12.2 16.3
    65 and older 12.8 17.2 7.1 18.6
    HOMEOWNERSHIP (households)
    Owner-occupied 57 62 63 62
    Renter-occupied 43 38 37 38

    Note: The household population excludes persons living in institutions, college dormitories and other group quarters. Households are classified by the race or detailed Asian group of the head. “Full-time, year-round workers” are defined as people ages 16 and older who usually worked at least 35 hours per week and at least 48 weeks in the past year. The share of the population ages 16 and older who are not employed differs from the unemployment rate because the share not employed is based on the total population, while the unemployment rate is based on those who are in the labor force (i.e. working or looking for work). Poverty status is determined for individuals in housing units and non-institutional group quarters. It is unavailable for children younger than 15 who are not related to the householder, people living in institutional group quarters and people living in college dormitories or military barracks. Due to the way in which the IPUMS assigns poverty values, these data will differ from those provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Figures may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Chinese also includes those identifying as Taiwanese. Figures for Chinese and all Asians based on mixed-race and mixed-group populations, regardless of Hispanic origin. See methodology for more detail.
    Source: Pew Research Center analysis of 2013-2015 American Community Survey (IPUMS).

    Pew Research Center

    Find out more

    Explore fact sheets on other Asian groups in the U.S.

    Read the methodology.

    The Asian American fact sheets were compiled by Gustavo López, research analyst, Anthony Cilluffo, research assistant, and Eileen Patten, former research analyst.

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