chapter  2
33 Pages

Chinese-language media and immigrant life in the United States and Canada

ByUnited States and Canada MIN ZHOU , WENHONG CHEN AND GUOXUAN CAI

The Chinese are the oldest and the largest Asian-origin group in North America and have endured a long history of migration and resettlement that dates back to the mid-nineteenth century, including decades of harsh legal and social exclusion. With the lifting of legal barriers to Chinese immigration after the Second World War and the enactment of liberal immigration legislation in the United States and Canada in the past three decades, the Chinese diasporic community has grown exponentially. In the United States, the ethnic Chinese population increased from 237,292 in 1960 to 1,645,472 in 1990, and to nearly 2.9 million (including some 450,000 mixed-race persons) in 2000, making up more than 1 per cent of the total US population. In Canada, the ethnic Chinese population surged from 58,197 in 1961 to 633,933 in 1991, and to more than one million in 2001, forming the largest non-European ethnic group in the country (Li, P. 1998, 2003) and comprising 3 per cent of the total Canadian population. In fact, Chinese has become the third most commonly used language in Canada, next only to English and French.