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Mapping the Alarming Decline of America’s Chinatowns

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In many North American cities, Chinatowns have been home to vibrant communities of Asian immigrants since the mid-19th century. But the character of these neighborhoods is changing fast, according to a new report. Using public records and enlisting hundreds of volunteers to map land use in Chinatowns in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, the authors found evidence that Chinatowns are increasingly getting squeezed by gentrification, development, and large public projects like stadiums and convention centers.

If these trends continue, Chinatowns could eventually go extinct, said Bethany Li, author of the report and staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a group that advocates for the civil rights of Asian Americans.

Why do Chinatowns exist in the first place? “It’s the history of discrimination,” Li said. “Chinese immigrants created these self-sustaining communities because they couldn’t find jobs or homes in other neighborhoods.” Even today, Li said, many recent immigrants depend on the resources and informal networks that Chinatowns provide.

But those networks may be breaking up.

The decline in Boston is particularly dramatic. According to Census records, the percentage of the population that claims Asian heritage in Boston’s Chinatown dropped from 70 percent in 1990 to 46 percent in 2010. New York and Philadelphia’s Chinatowns did not see big change either way by that measure during the same time period, but in all three cities the proportion of homes inhabited by families and the proportion of children in the population dropped considerably. To Li that suggests that multigenerational immigrant homes are breaking up — or moving out.

To get a better picture of what’s actually happening on the ground, volunteers in the three cities went door to door mapping businesses and land use.

Check out this link:

Mapping the Alarming Decline of America’s Chinatowns

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Japan #1; America #16… America is below average, but not the most illiterate country!

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We’re not going to sugarcoat this: America is not the greatest country in the world, math-and-literacy-wise. Not even close. But if you start with the assumption that America is, by and large, a land of halfwit slackjawed cable television-gazers, you may be pleasantly surprised to find the we’re right around the middle of the pack in terms of learnin’.

There’s a big new study out today of math and literacy skills in 23 different countries. No, we won’t make you read that PDF. We’ll give it to you straight: Finland and Japan are our superiors:

Roughly every fifth Finn and Japanese reads at high levels (Level 4 or 5 on the Survey of Adult Skills).

And as for the good old USA? We’re 16th in literacy, which is… well below average. And we’re also well below average in math skills, as well as in problem solving skills. Also, as the New York Times notes, “the American results were among the most polarized between high achievement and low,” because of our rampant inequality.

Check out this link:

Japan #1; America #16… America is below average, but not the most illiterate country!