Chinese Immigration in the United States

Kate Hooper and Jeanne Batalova
Date of Publication: 
January, 2015
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

Chinese immigrants to the U.S. tend to be more highly educated and earn higher wages than both their native-born and foreign-born counterparts. This is one of the findings of "Chinese Immigrants in the United States," a brief by the Migration Policy Institute.

The brief weaves history and data from the U.S. Decennial Census, recent American Community Surveys and the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics to paint a picture of Chinese immigration patterns in the U.S.  The authors note that Chinese immigration stalled twice due to, first, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and, second, China's restrictive emigration policies which weren't relaxed until 1978. The brief finds that Chinese immigrants in the U.S., the third largest immigrant population, are highly skilled and educated workers as they are much more likely to hold bachelor's degrees than the native-born (47% compared with 30% respectively). Chinese immigrants are also more likely to be employed in business, management and science industries and earn higher wages ($57,000 compared to $48,000 and $53,000 for overall immigrant and native-born households, respectively). The data show that Chinese immigrants are concentrated in California and New York and are more likely to become Lawful Permanent Residents through work visa channels than through immediate family relations. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public Education Institute)

Download it here or view it online.


Hooper, K. & Batalova, J. (2015). Chinese Immigration in the United States. Migration Policy Institute. Washington: DC. Available at: