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Chinese American facts for kids

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Chinese Americans
Total population
1.2% of the U.S. population (2010))
Regions with significant populations
New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle
Predominantly English, varieties of Chinese:
Mandarin Chinese (Standard Chinese), Yue Chinese (Cantonese, Taishanese), Min Chinese (Min Dong, Min Nan), Hakka, Wu Chinese (Taihu Wu, Oujiang Wu), and Minority Uyghur.
Unaffiliated, Protestantism, Buddhism, Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Hong Kong Americans, Taiwanese Americans
Overseas Chinese
Chinese American
Chinese American
Traditional Chinese 華裔美國人
Simplified Chinese 华裔美国人
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 華人
Simplified Chinese 华人
This article contains Chinese text. Without the correct software, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.

Chinese Americans are Americans of Chinese descent. Chinese Americans constitute one group of Overseas Chinese and also a subgroup of East Asian American.

The first Chinese immigrants arrived in 1820 according to U.S. government records. Fewer than 1,000 are known to have arrived before the 1848 California Gold Rush which drew the first significant number of laborers from China who performed menial work for the gold prospectors.

Chinese people were some of the early immigrants to live in the U.S., but then were banned from emigrating between 1885 and 1943 - when the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed. Immigration of Chinese was heavily restricted until 1965.


Chinese railroad workers in snow
Chinese railroad workers in the snow – 19th century

Chinese immigration to the United States has come in great numbers. Similar to other American immigration experiences, Chinese immigration has resulted in both hardship and success.


Legally all ethnic Chinese born in the United States are American citizens as a result of the Fourteenth Amendment and the 1898 United States v. Wong Kim Ark Supreme Court decision. Upon naturalization, immigrants are must take an oath of loyalty to the United States but are not required to formally renounce their former citizenship. The People's Republic of China does not recognize dual citizenship and considers naturalization of an person as an American citizen to implying a renunciation of PRC citizenship.

Major contributions

Professor Steven Chu is among the several Chinese Americans to have won the Nobel Prize. The others are Tsung-dao Lee, Samuel C. C. Ting, Daniel Chee Tsui, and Chen Ning Yang.

The Chinese who immigrated to America in the earlier decades were mainly from the area of Guangdong (Canton) and later Hong Kong. However, recently, more Chinese from mainland began to arrive to perform skilled jobs. Most of these Chinese Americans hold high educational degrees and value education.


Chinese, mostly of the Cantonese variety, is the third most-spoken language spoken in the United States, almost completely spoken within Chinese American populations and by immigrants or the descendants of immigrants, especially in California. Over 2 million Americans speak some variety of Chinese.

Although Chinese Americans grow up learning English, some teach their children Chinese for a variety of reasons such as of pride in their cultural ancestry.

Notable Chinese Americans

See List of Chinese Americans.

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