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For Immediate Release
12 November 2008 

Sarah Smith | OCA Communications Manager | 202.223.5500 |

Lynne Chiao | AAST Program Coordinator | 301.405.0996 |

The most current and comprehensive profile of Chinese Americans, based on extensive Census data and personal interviews, was released by the Asian American Studies Program, University of Maryland and OCA, a national Asian Pacific American social justice organization.

The study, two-years in the making, offers a complete profile of Chinese Americans’ socio-economic standing, educational achievements, higher education college selections, employment, civic engagement, and more. Chinese Americans are the largest Asian American minority group in the nation, representing roughly 25 percent of this population.

"Some of the popular beliefs about Chinese Americans simply don’t withstand our findings, as you might expect with most stereotypes,” says University of Maryland demographer and sociologist Dr. Larry H. Shinagawa, the principal investigator and director of the University’s Asian American Studies Program. "The diversity we found was surprising and we have identified social problems that need to be addressed.”

The Portrait is a national demographic and social profile of Chinese Americans. The OCA and AAST collaboration represents a unique community-academic partnership. This study presents the latest census data in a quick reference format and incorporates the experiences of OCA members in the document’s findings.

"We are very fortunate, as a membership organization, to have the opportunity to work with the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland on such an enriching research project, and hope to continue collaborating with top experts in Asian American Studies,” said Dr. Michael C. Lin, OCA executive director. "This report provides detailed information on the needs of the Chinese American and Asian American communities, and we look forward to continuing this dialogue with the Administration and Congress.”

Interesting findings from the Portrait:
  • Chinese Americans are very much involved in civic engagement; three out of four are U.S. citizens and exhibit very high rates of naturalization.
  • Chinese Americans have a bimodal distribution of an occupational split between white-collar professional, scientific jobs and blue-collar, working class jobs.
  • Chinese American men earn less in salaries than majority Whites for the same level of education.
  • 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.”
  • Chinese Americans cluster in industries associated with healthcare, food services, manufacturing and professional/scientific fields.
  • One in ten Chinese Americans are multiethnic and/or multiracial.

The Portrait will be available in both hard copy and downloadable free of charge after November 12 at the Asian American Studies Program web site,

The Asian American Studies Program, University of Maryland is one of two Census Information Centers in the nation focusing on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  The program provides students the opportunity to study critically the experiences of Asian Americans through an interdisciplinary approach.  AAST offers an undergraduate minor for students who wish to develop a specialization in Asian American Studies alongside their degree pursuits.  More online:

Founded in 1973 as the Organization of Chinese Americans, OCA is a national organization dedicated to the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States.  OCA is engaged in organizing its 81 chapters and college affiliates across the nation to develop both leadership and community involvement.  OCA is an Asian Pacific American Census Information Center and a 2010 Census Partner.  More online:
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