Urban US Chinatowns wane as Asians head to suburbs
By HOPE YEN and BEN NUCKOLS Associated Press
Posted: 01/19/2012 12:06:34 PM PST
Updated: 01/19/2012 02:53:53 PM PST
WASHINGTON—America's historic Chinatowns, home for a century to immigrants seeking social support and refuge from racism, are fading as rising living costs, jobs elsewhere and a desire for wider spaces lure Asian-Americans more than ever to the suburbs.
Shifts also are under way in Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Seattle, where shiny new "satellite Chinatowns" in the suburbs and outer city limits rival if not overshadow the originals.
Nationwide, about 62 percent of Asian-Americans in the nation's large metropolitan areas live in the suburbs, up from 54 percent in 1990 and the highest ever. Tied with Hispanics as the fastest-growing group, the nation's 4.4 million Asians are more likely than other minorities to live in the suburbs; only whites, at 78 percent, are higher.
Since 2000, nearly three-fourths of Asian population growth in the U.S. occurred in suburbs, many of them in the South.
In the Washington, D.C., metro area, which has a population of one-half million Asian-Americans, fewer than 500 Asians live in Chinatown, down from around 3,000 in 1970. Once a close-knit community of modest shops and rowhouses, it now has become known more for a sports arena, high-rise luxury apartments and national chains including Starbucks, Bed Bath & Beyond and Hooters.