Immigration from China in the early 20th century

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Significant Chinese immigration to the United States began with the California Gold Rush,[1] in the late 1840s. Many of these immigrants were single men who worked for a time and then returned to China with their earnings.[1] In subsequent decades, however, significant numbers of Chinese immigrants had settled permanently, and were competing for low-level jobs with other ethnic immigrant groups.[1] Immigration from China was restricted by the Chinese Exclusion Act, passed in 1882.[2]

In all, 4,441 Chinese immigrants came to the USA through the Ellis Island Immigration Station,[citation needed] while others came to the USA through other immigration stations throughout the country, such as the Angel Island Immigration Station in California.[citation needed] Most Chinese immigrants during the 19th century resided in New York.[citation needed]

In all, 66,946 immigrants from China came to the USA from the beginning of the twentieth century to 1931.[3] Studies have shown that areas in China where land is dispersed generated the most immigrants moving to the United States.[4]

In 1992, the Chinese Student Protection Act made it possible for Chinese nationals to become legal, permanent citizens of the United States. The act was revised in 1989[dubious ] to allow these nationals to work legally. More than 80,000 Chinese immigrants were affected by this act.[citation needed] Having the right to work and live legally in the United States prompted many immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan to pursue jobs in the United States.[citation needed] In the late 1990s through early 2000s, there was a significant influx in employment for Chinese laborers, according to census data analysis.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Chinese Immigration to the United States". Rise of Industrial America, 1876-1900. Library of Congress. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  2. ^ "Transcript of Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)". Our Documents. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  3. ^ IMMIGRANT ALIENS ADMITTED TO THE UNITED STATES BY ETHNICITY, 1899-1931 (PDF), National Park Service, archived from the original (PDF) on March 1, 2010
  4. ^ Chen, Yong (October 2002). "Review: Surviving the City: Chinese Immigrant Experience in New York City, 1890-1970, and: Seeking Modernity in China's Name: Chinese Students in the United States, 1900-1927, and: Smuggled Chinese: Clandestine Immigration to the United States". Journal of Asian American Studies. 5 (3): 277–282. doi:10.1353/jaas.2003.0014.
  5. ^ Orrenius, Pia; Zavodny, Madeline; Kerr, Emily (25 June 2012). "Chinese Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Market: Effects of Post‐Tiananmen Immigration Policy". Immigration Migration Review. 46 (2): 456–482. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7379.2012.00893.x. hdl:10419/58772.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brittingham, Angela; de la Cruz, G. Patricia (June 2004), Ancestry: 2000 - Census 2000 Brief (PDF), U.S. Census Bureau, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce