More Chinese people coming to Chicago

Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Chicago in January signified a major step forward for Mayor Richard M. Daley's effort to build ties with the world's second-largest economy. James Berglie/ZUMAPRESS.com

Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Chicago in January signified a major step forward for Mayor Richard M. Daley's effort to build ties with the world's second-largest economy. James Berglie/ZUMAPRESS.com

The news: In January, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Chicago, his only stop outside the nation’s capital.

Behind the news: During the past decade, the number of Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants saw an increase in Chicago.

The number climbed 14 percent from 24,000 in 2000 to 27,450 in 2009, shows a Chicago Reporter analysis of census data.

Statewide, the number of Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants increased from 56,000 in 2000 to 69,700 in 2009, a jump of 24 percent.

A major source of that growth has been China’s booming economy, enabling more Chinese people to migrate, said Z.J. Tong, president of the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute, which seeks to promote Chinese language and culture in the city.

“More Chinese are doing business now, so more students can afford to come to the U.S. to study,” said Tong, citing China’s passing of India last year as the top country of origin for international students in the United States. “And more Chinese can sponsor their family members to join them here.”

In addition, more Chinese immigrants have come to Chicago from cities like San Francisco and New York, Tong said.

Historically, Chinese have migrated outward from places like Chicago, so the recent pattern represents somewhat of a reversal of past trends, he added.

“New York and San Francisco are so populated that competition is high among Chinese businesses,” Tong said. “In the past 10 years, we have seen more people move from the coastal areas to Chicago.”

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