By the Data: The Chinese American Experience


May 31, 2023

The downturn in the U.S.-China relationship and the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled sharp increases in anti-Asian rhetoric and hate crimes. Yet, data on the reality of day-to-day life in the United States for Chinese Americans have been limited. To fill this gap in knowledge, the Committee of 100 and Columbia University administered a comprehensive survey late last year to highlight the demographic backgrounds, political opinions and engagement and health and economic status of Chinese Americans.

Joining host Euhwa Tran, chief programs officer and chief of staff at the Bush China Foundation, are representatives of the two principle organizations conducting the research: Zhengyu “Z” Huang, president of the Committee of 100 and Qin Gao, associate dean for doctoral education at the Columbia University School of Social Work and the founding director of the Columbia China Center for Social Policy.

Qin Gao is Professor of Social Policy and Social Work and Associate Dean for Doctoral Education at the Columbia University School of Social Work and the Founding Director of the Columbia China Center for Social Policy. Dr. Gao studies poverty, inequality, social policy, migration, and child development in China and their international comparisons. She currently leads The State of Chinese Americans Survey and is a member of the New York City Longitudinal Survey of Wellbeing study research team. She is also on the faculty of the Committee on Global Thought and Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and a Public Intellectual Fellow of the National Committee on United States-China Relations. Qin Gao’s book, Welfare, Work, and Poverty: Social Assistance in China (Oxford University Press, 2017) presents a systematic evaluation of the world’s largest social welfare program, Dibao. Her co-edited book, China Urbanizing: Impacts and Transitions (Penn Press, 2022), captures China’s urbanization in its historical and regional variations and explores its multifaceted impacts. Dr. Gao’s work has been supported by multiple national and international funding sources such as the Asian Development Bank, UNICEF, and the World Bank. Dr. Gao holds a BA from China Youth University of Political Studies (China), an MA from Peking University (China), and an MPhil and PhD from the Columbia School of Social Work. She has been interviewed by media outlets such as the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs; the Council on Foreign Relations; and SupChina’s Sinica Podcast.

Zhengyu “Z” Huang was born in Shanghai, China and came to the US at the age of ten. Zheng was educated at Stanford University, with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering, B.A. in Economics, and M.S. in Computer Science. He also earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. After graduation, Zheng worked at Intel Corporation and rose to Managing Director and then served under President Obama as a White House Fellow and special assistant to the Administrator for US Agency for International Aid. Thereafter, he started a financial service data firm that grew to 300 staff and 7 offices. He was most recently the Chairman of an education focused investment firm. He is the author of three books published in China that sold over 250,000 copies. He has lived in five countries, including the US, Germany, Japan, India, and China and traveled to over 80 countries.

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