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Tables Show Chinese Labor Distribution and Wage Discrepancies in Late 19th Century San Francisco

This chart shows the numbers of Chinese immigrants employed in various occupations in San Francisco from 1860-1880. Although the data is incomplete, the chart shows that the vast majority of Chinese worked in menial jobs as laundry workers, servants, laborers, cigar-makers, and other unskilled positions. Meanwhile, wages for Chinese workers remained far below those for whites engaged in the same tasks. However, small numbers of merchants and professionals (including doctors, tailors, shoemakers, carpenters and clerks) allowed the Chinese community to become self-sufficient, with some becoming prosperous.


Source | June Mei, "Socioeconomic Developments Among the Chinese in San Francisco, 1848-1906." In Lucie Cheng and Edna Bonacich, eds., Labor Immigration Under Capitalism, Asian Workers in the United States Before World War II (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 374, 381.
Creator | June Mei
Item Type | Quantitative Data
Cite This document | June Mei, “Tables Show Chinese Labor Distribution and Wage Discrepancies in Late 19th Century San Francisco,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed May 26, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1232.

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