Editor's corner/ Over a cup of tea
Heidi M. Pascual*
Publisher & Editor
* 2006 Journalist of the
Year for the State of
Wisconsin (U.S.-SBA)
Myth-busting study
      The Asian American Studies Program of the University of Maryland and the Organization of
Chinese Americans (OCA) recenrly released a comprehensive study about Chinese Americans, titled
“A Portrait of Chinese Americans.” As the Census shows, Chinese Americans comprise 24.3% (one in
four Asian Americans) of the U.S. Asian American population, making them the largest ethnic group
among us. The two-year-in-the-making study reveals the falsity of popular beliefs about Chinese
Americans, and Asian Wisconzine wants to share this with our readers. Dr. Larry H. Shinagawa, the
principal investigator and director of the University’s Asian American Studies Program, was surprised
at the diversity that they found in the Chinese American community. They also identified social
problems that need to be addressed. The study found that:
• 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 Chinese
enclaves characterized as Chinatowns. Many of the more affluent ones now reside in suburban
communities known as “ethnoburbs,” or mixed “Asiatowns”;
• Chinese Americans cluster in industries associated with healthcare, food service, manufacturing,
and professional/scientific fields;
• One in 10 Chinese Americans is multiethnic and/or multiracial;
• The proportion of Chinese Americans in poverty (9.4 percent) is higher than that of the non-
Hispanic White population (8.2 percent). The nature of poverty affects the elderly more than for
minors; and is twice as high for Chinese American married couples than for married couples in the
general population. In view of these findings, the “Portrait” suggests that Chinese Americans shouldn’t
be depicted as a monolithic and homogeneous community and culture. It also suggests that further
study be made as to:
• the depth and nuances of the community’s diversity; and
reasons why Chinese Americans cluster and concentrate in certain areas. The Chinese American
experience mirrors most of other Asian American experience on: diversity, concentration,
bimodalism, and low returns on investments.
      Somehow, I feel we’re all on the same boat.  For more information on the “Portrait,” visit