Current Population

Chinese Americans: Fast Facts

  • • U.S. population: over 3 million
  • • Largest subgroup of Asian Americans
  • • 47% speak English “less than very well”
  • • 17% of Chinese Older Adults live in poverty





According to the 2005-2007 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census, there were more than 3 million Chinese living in the U.S., an increase of more than 500,000 since the 2000 Census.

Population compared to other Asian Americans

Chinese Americans are the largest subgroup of Asian Americans, comprising almost 25% of all Asian Americans. Of the estimated 3 million Chinese Americans, about 907,700 (30%) were US born, while about 2.1 million (70%) were foreign born; about 1.24 million were naturalized US citizens, and about 876,000 were not US citizens.

Language, Education and Socioeconomic Status

Chinese Americans are a heterogeneous population with regard to language, education, and socioeconomic status (Chang, 2003; Lum, 1995; American Community Survey 2005-2007). According to the 2005-2007 survey, about 17% of the Chinese American population spoke English only, while 83% spoke a language other than English. About 47% reported they spoke English less than “very well.”

Geographic Location and Poverty Rates

Approximately 66% of Chinese-Americans live in 5 states: California, New York, Hawaii, Illinois and Texas. Poverty rates for “all families” was about 9.5%, but jumped to between 18-26% in female households with no husbands present.

17% of Chinese American older adults (over 65 years) live in poverty and 47% live alone. (American Community Survey 2005-2007; McBride, Morioka-Douglas, & Yeo, 1996).