HomeChinese AmericanSurvey: Racism & mental health top concerns of Chinese Am

Survey: Racism & mental health top concerns of Chinese Am

By Randall Yip, AsAmNews Executive Editor

A year-long research project conducted by Columbia University’s School of Social Work and Committee of 100 found 74% of 6,500 Chinese Americans surveyed say they’ve experienced racial discrimination in the last year with 24% at moderate to severe risk of mental illness.

That’s part of the findings released this evening in a report with the support of more than 100 community partners including AsAmNews.

“Chinese Americans feel they are accepted in society, but they also feel a high sense of discrimination,” said Qin Gao, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work at Columbia University during a presentation of the findings.

She said Chinese Americans see themselves as part of combined cultures, but 58% felt conflicted between the American and Chinese ways of doing things. About 40 percent say they didn’t feel conflicted.

The survey participants came from 46 states and across the socio-economic spectrum.

More than half, 55%, say they worry about their safety when it comes to hate crimes or harassment.

9% say they’ve been physically intimidated or assaulted and 7% have suffered property damage and vandalism.

Chart shows the percent of Asian Americans who feel harassed or have been called a racial slur
Committee of 100 graphic

1 in 5 say they’ve been harassed or called a racial slur in the last year.

46% report being treated in a disrespectful manner.

All this appears to be taking a mental toll on Chinese Americans.

One in four describe themselves as being in fair to poor mental health.

Gao called that a “mental burden.” She said 38% avoided certain places out of fear for their safety and 55% worry about their family’s safety from a hate crime or harassment.

10% report a household income of less than $15,000 with nearly that many, 9%, experiencing difficulty with feeding their families or paying their bills.

The community appears to be politically engaged with 90% saying they are registered to vote. Among their biggest concerns when going to the polls are racism, crime, gun control and the economy.

They also expressed concerns about relations between the U.S. and China and expressed a desire for more collaboration between the two countries.

Half of the respondents were born in Mainland China and 27% in the U.S.

Graphic shows 40 percent of Chinese Americans surveyed have a negative impression of U..S.-China relations with another 49% saying they have a somewhat negative perception
Committee of 100 graphic

79% view the state of U.S.-China relations negatively. The Committee of 100 will hold its annual conference and gala May 5 and 6 in San Jose, CA.

(Editor Note: An earlier version of this study incorrectly stated that the Committee of 100 commissioned the study. They were actually a research partner with Columbia)

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