Chinese in the US (Part I by Pei-Yu Shih and Part II by Ko-Yin Sung)

Part I

Compared 2000 and 2005, Chinese has grown from 1,499,635 to 1,550,574 in the United States. Also, Chinese is the third most spoken language in the US.


Chinese by State
Among all the states, California, New York, and Texas have the most Chinese speakers in the United States. In Texas, Chinese speakers grow from 72,590 to 83,641 from 2000 to 2005.

Chinese in Texas
As can be seen from this map, San Antonio is not the city that has the most Chinese speakers. The estimate Chinese speakers in San Antonio are between 1,000 – 4,999. (Source: MLA Language Map)

Chinese in San Antonio
Table 1 is a break down of languages that are spoken in San Antonio area. In the previous map, it generally estimates that Chinese speakers in San Antonio are 1,000 – 4,999. However, the detailed data inform that there were 2,395 Chinese speakers in 2000. Table 2 is a survey of these Chinese speakers in terms of their proficiency in speaking English. Most of the Chinese speakers under age 64 reveal that they speak English “well” or “very well.”



Chinese by Chinese school’s zip code
After visiting two Chinese Schools in San Antonio, I am interested in reviewing how many Chinese speakers are in that area. Alamo Chinese School has around 40 students, while San Antonio Chinese Culture Institute has around 90 students. However, it is interesting to see that in Alamo Chinese School area, there are actually 446 Chinese speakers when compared with San Antonio Chinese Culture Institute area with only 31 Chinese speakers. Could this help explain the changing student population in the San Antonio Chinese Culture Institute, that is from heritage language speakers to adopted children from China?

Part II

Enrollments in Chinese in the United States (1960-2006)

Figure 1 shows the enrollments in Chinese since 1960. The number of students studying Chinese increased from 1,844 in 1960 to 51,582 in 2006. The Enrollments in Chinese language is ranked the 6th most taught modern language excluding Spanish in 2006.


Ratio of Introductory to Advanced Undergraduate Enrollments in Chinese

Figure 2 shows that the ratio of introductory to advanced undergraduate enrollments in Chinese is 9:2 in 2006.


Enrollments in Chinese and Percentage Change between 1998 and 2002 and 2002 and 2006

Table1 shows that the number of students enrolled in Chinese is 28,456 in 1998 and 34,153 in 2002 with 20% of increase. From 2002 to 2006, the enrollment increased 50%, with a total of 51,582 students in 2006.


Percentage Enrollment in Chinese from 1968-2006

Table 2 shows the percentage of total language course enrollments from 1968 to 2006. In terms of the percentage enrollment in Chinese, Table 2 shows that the percentage enrollment in Chinese has been increasing, from 0.4% in 1968 to 3.3% in 2006.


Regional Comparison of 2006 Chinese Undergraduate Course Enrollments

Table 3 shows the percentage of undergraduate Chinese course enrollments in each region as follows: Northeast (27.4%), Midwest (17.1%), South Atlantic (14.1%), South Central (5.6%), Rocky Mountain (6.5%), Pacific Coast (29.3%).


College Enrollments in Chinese in Texas

Table 4 shows the fall 2006 enrollments in Chinese in Texas. It appears that most of the students (1,508) enrolled in the lower undergraduate courses and only 339 students enrolled in the upper undergraduate courses. Table 4 also shows that 19 of the four-year universities and 4 two-year colleges in Texas offer Chinese courses.

Furman, N., Goldberg, D., & Lusin, N. (2007). Enrollments in languages other than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2006. Modern Language Association.