New York, NY (February 8, 2021) – Committee of 100, a non-profit leadership organization of Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, healthcare, and the arts today announced a landmark study on the historic contributions of Chinese Americans to the fabric of American society. The 142-page study, From Foundations to Frontiers: Chinese American Contributions to the Fabric of America, was completed by The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Committee of 100 and sponsored in part by Citi Private Bank, examines the enduring relationship between the Chinese American community and America’s economic and cultural success over the past two centuries.
“This study brings to the forefront the complexity of our lived experience as proud Chinese Americans and tells the untold stories of our community’s impact on – and continued struggles within American society,” explained H. Roger Wang, Chairman of Committee of 100. “Committee of 100 supports the full inclusion and advancement of the more than 5 million Chinese Americans in the United States and believes that America is stronger because of its immigrant heritage and diverse cultures.”
At a time when the Biden Administration has taken executive action against xenophobia directed at the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, From Foundations to Frontiers reinforces the longstanding importance of the Chinese American community to America’s overall cultural and economic fabric.
“From Foundations to Frontiers illuminates, through data and storytelling, how Chinese Americans have had a significant impact on American life as we know it today,” said Zhengyu “Z” Huang, President of Committee of 100. “But even more pressing is the work that remains ahead of us. Along with other communities of color, Chinese Americans continue to face barriers to advancement in the form of systemic racism and entrenched stereotypes. America can reach its full potential only when all of its citizens can reach their own full potential.”
The new study details how Chinese Americans have found success as business owners, scientists, doctors, engineers, and in a variety of other fields. This economic contribution to the United States is central to America’s success. In 2019 alone, Chinese Americans contributed over $300 billion to the US GDP through consumer spending, supporting 3 million jobs.
But the study also reveals continued barriers that restrict Chinese American participation in American society, including systemic discrimination in the form of the perpetual foreigner stereotype, the model minority myth, and the ‘bamboo ceiling’ when it comes to career advancement and opportunity. From Foundations to Frontiers also calls attention to the recent rise of anti-Chinese sentiment and incidents linked to U.S.-China geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of which threatens the safety and well-being of Chinese American and Asian American communities across the country.
“We are delighted to have Committee of 100’s support for this important and timely study,” said Claire Casey, Global Managing Director of Public Policy of the Economist Intelligence Unit. “In developing a fuller appreciation of the significance of Chinese Americans’ contribution to the United States, we hope this study can contribute to cultivating a more cooperative and inclusive climate that benefits all.”
“As a Chinese American I know from a personal perspective the widespread impact my community has had in the United States for generations – everything from arts and culture to philanthropy and finance,” said Ida Liu, Head of Citi Private Bank, North America and a member of Committee of 100. “Citi Private Bank is proud to support this study, and collaborate with C100, to further reinforce the idea that celebrating and understanding our unique contributions helps unify us towards shared economic, social and cultural progress.”
For nearly two centuries, Chinese Americans have made bold contributions in pushing the United States to become a more fair and just society, establishing significant landmark legal precedents that have since shaped our democracy. This history of activism and participation in America’s civil life extends to increased involvement in public administration and national security. These and other unheralded contributions, spanning nearly 175 years, have contributed greatly to American cuisine, fashion, cinema, and a range of other creative endeavors that define the American experience.
Some fast facts from the study:
- Approximately 5.3 million people in the U.S. are of Chinese descent, and 75% are American citizens.
- There are over 160,000 Chinese American-owned businesses in the U.S., generating approximately $240 billion in revenue and supporting 1.3 million jobs.
- Only 14 companies that featured in the Fortune 500 in the past decade have had a Chinese American in their C-suite positions; however during the tenures of these Chinese American executives, ten of the 14 companies experienced record levels of market capitalization.
- 1 in 40 living Chinese Americans aged 17 years old or over has served, is serving or training in the U.S. military.
- As of 2016, there were 45,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States. That was more than the number of McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s combined. It might be argued that if the United States had a national cuisine, it would be Chinese food.
- In 2018, Chinese Americans accounted for roughly 3% of professional occupations but held only 1.5% of mid-level management roles and 1.2% of executive positions.
- Among the workforce of the 721 companies that have featured in the Fortune 500 ranking in the past decade, only 25 Chinese Americans were named to board positions, representing just 0.3% of the total.
- Roughly 1 in 10 Chinese American households earns less than $15,000 per year and 35% have incomes below that national median.
The full 142-page study contains seven pillar reports focused on Arts and Culture; Civil Rights, Public Service and Politics; Entrepreneurship and Business Leadership; Infrastructure; Military & National Security; Public Health; and Science and Technology.
In these pillar reports, readers will also find personal stories and highlights from 12 prominent
Chinese Americans, called Impact Stories:
- Wong Kim Ark – Kim Ark’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court case solidified birthright citizenship, ensuring immigration policy that still endures today.
- Steven Chu – As the US Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama, Steven went beyond safeguarding the country’s nuclear arsenal to transforming the agency, championing clean energy, and addressing the climate crisis.
- David Ho – David’s research in HIV/AIDS saved millions of lives.
- Tung-Yen Lin – Using technology as a tool for diplomacy, Tung-Yen revolutionized construction methods and created lasting physical and cultural connections.
- Yo-Yo Ma – A musical icon, Yo-Yo brought classical music to the mainstream, promotes cultural collaboration to create a stronger society, and brings the beauty of music to children.
- I.M. Pei – Creating some of the world’s most iconic buildings, I.M.’s designs continue to influence architects today.
- Coral Wong Pietsch – In service to her country, Coral broke through stereotypes to become a role model for future leaders.
- Oscar Tang – Oscar’s philanthropic work has supported cultural institutions and created access to high-quality education for students around the world.
- Chien-Shiung Wu – Nicknamed the “First Lady of Physics” and the “Queen of Nuclear Research”; Chien-Shiung is also credited with modern quantum computation.
- Lulu C. Wang – A transformative philanthropist, Lulu determinedly empowers and mentors the next generation of female leaders.
- Debra Wong Yang – A fourth-generation Chinese American, Debra leverages the law to elevate more women to positions of power.
- Jerry Yang – With a vision of internet innovation that was way ahead of the curve, Jerry launched a company that would define Silicon Valley culture and inspire some of the world’s largest digital brands.
The full study From Foundations to Frontiers: Chinese American Contributions to the Fabric of America or any of the seven pillar reports can be downloaded for free at contributingacrossamerica.economist.com .
Committee of 100 is offering free guest lectures and virtual talks on the landmark study for groups and organizations around the country. Please email email@example.com for more information.
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About Committee of 100
Committee of 100 (C100) is a non-profit U.S. leadership organization of prominent and extraordinary Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, healthcare, and the arts. Founded by the late world-renowned architect I.M. Pei and internationally acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, among others, it is an institution of U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage. For over 30 years, C100 has served as a preeminent organization committed to the dual missions of promoting the full participation of Chinese Americans in all aspects of American life and constructive relations between the United States and Greater China. www.committee100.org.