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This is the fourth in our series on the five largest immigrant groups in the United States. China, with a population of approximately 1.3 billion, is the most populous country in the world. However, according to Census 2000, there are less than one million foreign born from China, excluding those from Hong Kong and Taiwan, living in the United States. This Spotlight examines the size, growth, and geographic distribution of the foreign born from China.
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Chinese foreign-born population, for the United States: 1990 and 2000
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 988,857 immigrants from China in the United States in 2000. There were also 203,580 foreign born from Hong Kong, a special administrative unit of China, and 326,215 from Taiwan.
The foreign born from China (988,985) made up the fourth-largest immigrant group in 2000, following the foreign born from Mexico (9.2 million), the Philippines (1.4 million), and India (1 million). The fifth-largest foreign-born group in 2000 was from Vietnam (988,174).
Of the 31.1 million foreign born in the U.S., 3.2 percent were immigrants from China, according to the results of Census 2000.
According to Census 2000, California had the largest number of foreign born from China (327,611), followed by New York (233,766). The remaining 10 states with the largest number of immigrants from China include New Jersey (40,092), Massachusetts (39,255), Texas (38,813), Illinois (36,586), Pennsylvania (23,478), Maryland (22,741), Washington (20,530), and Florida (17,732).
Of the total foreign born from China in 2000, California had the largest proportion (33 percent), followed by New York (24 percent). Combined, these two states accounted for 57 percent of the total foreign born from China.
The foreign-born population from China increased from 529,837 in 1990 to 988,857 in 2000, or by 459,020 persons, according to the results of Census 2000, representing an increase of 87 percent.
The results from Census 2000 show that in six states the foreign-born population from China more than tripled in size, including South Carolina (293 percent, or from 843 to 3,314 persons), Arkansas (273 percent, or from 409 to 1,525 persons), North Carolina (245 percent, or from 2,557 to 8,816 persons), Georgia (238 percent, or from 3,229 to 10,909 persons), Delaware (217 percent, or from 755 to 2,392 persons), and New Hampshire (205 percent, or from 600 to 1,828 persons).
According to the results of Census 2000, immigrants from China accounted for 0.4 percent of the total U.S. population of 281.4 million. There were only three states where the foreign born from China made up one percent or more of the total population: New York (1.2 percent), Hawaii (1 percent), and California (1 percent).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 1990 Census of Population and Housing and Census 2000, Summary File 3