Spatial Analysis of Chinese American Ethnic Enclaves and Community Health Indicators in New York City

Qiuyi Zhang, Sara S Metcalf, Harvey D Palmer, Mary E Northridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In New York City, the population of Chinese Americans has grown faster than that of any other minority racial/ethnic group, and now this community constitutes almost half of all Chinese Americans living in the northeastern United States. Nonetheless, scant research attention has been given to Chinese American ethnic enclaves and little is known about the health status of their residents. This study aims to help address this gap in the literature by: (1) improving our understanding of the spatial settlement of Chinese Americans living in New York City from 2000 to 2016; and (2) assessing associations between a New York City resident's likelihood of living in a Chinese American enclave and their access to health care and perceived health status, two measures of community health. In support of this aim, this study establishes a robust criterion for defining ethnic enclaves at the Census tract level in New York City as the communities of interest in this paper. An ethnic enclave is defined as an area at the Census tract level with high dissimilarity and a spatial cluster of Chinese Americans. The spatial findings were that Chinese Americans in New York City were least segregated from other Asian American residents, somewhat segregated from White residents, and most segregated from Black residents. Also, the population density of Chinese Americans increased since 2000, as reflected by their declining exposure index with other Asian Americans. Results from logistic regression indicated that the probability of living in a Chinese American enclave was negatively associated with positive self-perception of general health and positively associated with delays in receiving health care. For Chinese American residents of New York City, living in an ethnic enclave was also associated with both lower socioeconomic status and poorer community health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number815169
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
StatePublished - Jan 28 2022


  • ethnic enclaves
  • Chinese Americans
  • New York City
  • community health
  • residential segregation


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