Chinese Americans have lower incomes, education levels and English skills in New York City

Chinese Americans, who comprise the largest Asian American group in New York City and nearly half of Asian American New Yorkers, have a lower standard of living than the city's overall population, according to a census-based profile released by the Asian American Federation of New York October 14.

In 2000, Chinese American New Yorkers had lower incomes, higher general and elderly poverty rates, less education, and less command of English than city residents as a whole. The profile is one of a series of demographic portraits prepared by the Federation's Census Information Center (CIC), a source of census data and analysis affiliated with the U.S. Census Bureau. These documents are designed to increase awareness of Asian American populations in the New York metropolitan area. The Citigroup Foundation and the C.J. Huang Foundation have provided funding to support the profile series. The Chinese American profile is available at

Major profile facts include the following (regarding 2000 census data unless stated otherwise):

  • From 1990 to 2000, New York City's Chinese American population rose from 232,908 to 374,321 - for 61 percent growth, as well as the greatest numerical increase (141,413) among Asian American groups in the city.
  • More than 4 in 10 Asian American New Yorkers (43 percent) were Chinese American.
  • Per capita income for Chinese Americans in New York City was $16,700 - compared with $22,402 city-wide.
  • More than one-fourth (27 percent, or 10,175) of New York City's elderly Chinese Americans lived below the poverty line - exceeding 18 percent of all the city's senior citizens.
  • More than one-fourth (27 percent, or 21,012) of New York City's Chinese American children lived below poverty level.
  • Of adult Chinese New Yorkers, nearly one-third (31 percent) had not finished ninth grade and 42 percent were not high school graduates - compared with 15 percent and 28 percent of all city adults, respectively.
  • Roughly 85 percent of Chinese American senior citizens in New York City had "Limited English Proficiency" - more than three times the rate for the city's entire elderly population (27 percent).
  • Chinese American households in New York City had an average of 3.19 inhabitants - surpassing 2.59 city-wide.
  • Three-quarters (281,800) of Chinese Americans in New York City were immigrants - compared with about one-third (36 percent) of the overall city population.
  • Queens was home to 38 percent (143,126) of the city's Chinese, followed by Brooklyn (33 percent, or 125,050); Manhattan (24 percent, or 90,158); Staten Island (2 percent, or 7,999); and the Bronx (2 percent, or 7,628).
  • The Asian American Federation of New York's Census Information Center (CIC) is the only such center, run in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau, that is in the New York metropolitan area and focuses on serving Asian Americans. Established in 2000, the center provides census information, conducts data and policy analysis, and promotes census participation

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