Geographia Polonica (1993) vol. 61

Settlement patterns of the new Chinese immigrants in urban America

Wilawan Kanjanapan

Geographia Polonica (1993) vol. 61, pp. 329-344 | Full text

The United States has been the country receiving the largest permanentimmigration of over half a million persons annually. Focusing on the Chinese ethnicsin particular, this paper examines settlement patterns of this group of newimmigrants. Three specific questions are raised: (1) Where do the new Chineseimmigrants intend to initially locate in the United States? (2) Are there anydifferences in location choices among the new Chinese immigrants of various origins?(3) Have new Chinese immigrants a tendency to settle in the metropolitan areaswhere old immigrants of the same ethnic origin live? To answer these questions, across-sectional analysis is performed based on data from the 1980 U.S. census andthe U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.The results show that among the six largest Asian ethnic groups in the UnitedStates, the Chinese are the most geographically concentrated in metropolitan areas.For the new immigrants, the data show variations in settlement patterns amongChinese bom in Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Attempts are also made toassess the relationship between ethnic enclaves and location choices of newimmigrants. The hypothesis that immigrants are more likely to settle in the urbanareas where their fellow ethnics live is somewhat supported by the empirical data.The study is, however, constrained by limitations of the data and more effort shouldbe made toward an improvement of collecting detailed information on newimmigrants admitted to the United States.

Keywords: settlement patterns, location choices, immigration

Wilawan Kanjanapan, Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China