Our Community

Chinese Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area are a diverse group.


Chinese Americans in the Bay Area

The Bay Area is a vibrant hub for both Chinese immigration and Chinese-American residence. As of the 2010 census, the entire metropolitan area contained the 3rd largest population of Chinese Americans in the US, while the city of San Francisco contained the highest per capita concentration of Chinese Americans overall. While most in the area’s Chinatowns hail from Guangdong and Hong Kong, the greater Chinese American population comes from diverse regions and backgrounds. Similarly, they can be found across a wide range of industries, from the Silicon Valley’s technology startups to Oakland’s family-run supermarkets.

Though the area is known for its increasing share of wealthy Chinese Americans, few are aware of the community’s great needs as well. For example:

– Only 81% of Bay Area Chinese Americans over the age of 25 hold a high school degree or higher, compared to 95% of whites. (US Census Bureau, 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B15002)
– The median household income in San Francisco’s Chinatown is $17,630, with residents having a 32% poverty rate and 16% unemployment rate. (US Census Bureau, 2010 Census)
– Nearly 10% of Chinese Americans in the area lack health insurance. (US Census Bureau, 2008-2010 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, Table S0201)
– 44% of Bay Area Chinese Americans 5 years or older have limited English proficiency. (US Census Bureau, 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates, table B16004)
– 21% of Chinese Americans nationally report experiencing discrimination in their lives (Pew Research Center 2012 Asian-American Survey, Q51, 52)

The Chinese American Community Foundation works to educate donors and the greater public about these contrasts within the community.

Philanthropy Among Chinese Americans

Philanthropy is a deeply embedded virtue in Chinese culture. Though this has its origins in centuries-old Buddhist traditions, the desire to give back or serve the disadvantaged endures today. As Chinese communities around the world grow in prominence and wealth, this motivation has been met with an ability to effect extraordinary changes.

Chinese Americans in particular have found many opportunities to incorporate philanthropy into their lives. Though they may have a range of charitable interests, giving back to Asian or Asian-American causes is a strong trend. The demand for this can be seen in the wealth of options for Asian-American philanthropy, such as targeted community foundations or professional affinity groups. The Chinese American Community Foundation is the first in the United States to focus on Chinese-American giving, however it is far from the only organization to recognize the fact that this group is increasingly philanthropic, engaged about their philanthropy, and need further resources to accommodate their philanthropic goals.

Latest News: Report on Chinese American philanthropy in the Bay Area

Bay Area Community Organizations Serving Chinese Americans

As a hub for Chinese immigration, the Bay Area has developed a vibrant network of non-profits serving the Chinese-American community. Some provide services ranging from tax assistance to after-school programming while others advocate for Asian-American interests at the policy level. CACF strives to build relationships with and among these organizations, providing them with the support they need to elevate the community for years to come.

Click here for a list of some organizations that serve the Chinese-American community.

Latest News: A Case Study of How Two Asian American Nonprofits Merged