Will Chinatowns Soon Be Extinct?

The formation of Chinatowns in the United States began in the late 19th Century, and since then have provided an important immigrant gateway. But gentrification and rising expenses in U.S. cities are shrinking many Chinatowns.

Aidan Lewis provides an account of the “slow decline of American Chinatowns.” Lewis begins the story in New York, but also provides evidence of the trend around the country.

“‘Chinatowns are turning into a sanitised ethnic playground for the rich to satisfy their exotic appetite for a dim sum and fortune cookie fix,’ says Andrew Leong, one of the authors of a recent report that charted gentrification in New York, Boston and Philadelphia's Chinatowns.”

Partly at fault for the decline, is the success of Chinese immigrant families, says Lewis. For instance, “[many] of those from Manhattan's Chinatown have moved to younger Chinese neighbourhoods in Flushing, Queens and Brooklyn's Sunset Park…But up to now, new arrivals in New York have always taken their place.”

The numbers make a striking case for the decline: “from 2000-2010 the share of the Asian population has fallen from 48%-45% in New York's Chinatown, 57%-46% in Boston's, and 49%-30% in Philadephia’s…”

Full Story: The slow decline of American Chinatowns


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