News / USA

Chinese Immigrants Move Out of US Chinatowns

Chinese Immigrants Move Out of US 'Chinatowns'i
X
May 01, 2013 10:26 PM
Asians are the fastest-growing minority group in the United States and those of Chinese heritage have been in the United States since the mid 1800s. Almost every major U.S. city has a “Chinatown.” But many Chinese Americans have assimilated and no longer live in these enclaves, settling instead in city suburbs. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles, the home of one of the largest predominantly Chinese suburbs in the U.S., on how “Chinatown” has evolved along with ethnic Chinese immigrants.
Chinese Immigrants Move Out of US 'Chinatowns'
Elizabeth Lee
Asians are the fastest growing minority group in the United States, and people of Chinese heritage have been in the United States since the mid-1800s.  Almost every major U.S. city has a “Chinatown.”  But many Chinese Americans have assimilated and actually live in the suburbs.

From San Francisco to New York, visitors flock to Chinatown for food and souvenirs. But the Chinatowns in major U.S. cities these days are mainly for the tourists, says the acting director of the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles, Steve Wong.

“If you walk around Chinatown today in Los Angeles and many other big cities, you have these facades of Chinese-ness, which sometimes is real, sometimes it's not. And so you have gift shops, you have Chinese food which is catering to American tastes.  I don’t even call it Chinese food. I think it’s very American,” Wong said.

But at one time, Chinatown was the only place where Chinese immigrants could live.  The first Chinese immigrants arrived from southern China in the mid-1800s as laborers.  Then in 1882, the U.S. banned Chinese immigration.  Hostility toward the Chinese led to the creation of Chinatowns. Again, Steve Wong.

“Without being able to bring in families and women, they weren’t able to develop their communities, so they had to turn to the outside and create an economy based on tourism,” Wong said.

Fred Wong, 73, lived and worked in the Los Angeles Chinatown for 15 years.  He came to the U.S. when he was 10, after the immigration ban was lifted.  He did not come with his biological parents.

“We were six of us and it was very hard for my parents, so she sold one and I was the second son she sold,” Wong said.

He says elderly Chinese and Latino immigrants now live in L.A.’s Chinatown.  The majority of the Chinese immigrants live in the suburbs.  In the last three decades, Chinese immigrants from Taiwan and then Mainland China arrived as students, who then stayed in the U.S., says University of Southern California Los Angeles professor Min Zhou.

“A lot of them are from middle class, they want to buy or rent houses rather than live in apartments and they also want to find good school districts so Chinatown is not attractive to them,” Zhou said.

In some major cities such as Houston and Los Angeles, Chinese are forming communities outside of the traditional Chinatown.  These neighborhoods are filled with strip malls, parking lots and banks that cater to the Chinese community.

Guo Wen Huang from Xian, China used to work in a factory back home.  Now he owns a restaurant in a Chinese suburb east of Los Angeles.  Like many of the immigrants here, he bought a house with a two-car garage.

He says that in China, skyscrapers are everywhere. The United States doesn’t have that many skyscrapers.  There are more single family homes here.  His first impression is that there are fewer people here, the air quality is better, and he can see blue skies.

While many Chinese immigrants are finding success in the United States, Steve Wong says as many as 750,000 undocumented Chinese immigrants also live here.  They are waiting to see if Congress will reform immigration laws.

Min Zhou says the immigration problem in the United States will continue because immigrants will continue to want a better life for themselves and their children.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs