People Group Highlights

“All nations will come and worship before you."

- Revelations 15:4

Chinese, Cantonese of North America

People Group Info

Total Population: 1,283,475

ROP3 Code: 103701
IMB Affinity Group: East Asian Peoples
Affinity Bloc: East Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Chinese
Language: Yue Chinese - (yue)
Religion: Buddhism - Mahayana
Country of Origin: Hong Kong

Majority Located Where

  New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY - 350,000

  Vancouver (Surrey), BC - 262,750

  Toronto (Mississauga, Brampton), ON - 212,830

  San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA - 38,400

  Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA - 33,400

Click here to recommend other locations where this People Group resides.

Learn More

Brief Profile

Over a period of 150 years, the province of Guangdong in China has been the most common origin of most Cantonese Chinese to North America. However, in the past 30 plus years, Cantonese Chinese also migrated from Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Although the Cantonese language shares much vocabulary with Mandarin Chinese, the two varieties are not mutually intelligible because of pronunciation, grammatical, and also lexical differences. Sentence structure, in particular the placement of verbs, sometimes differs between the two. The use of vocabulary in Cantonese also tends to have more historic roots. Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese becomes the third most widely spoken non-English language in North America behind Spanish and French.

With the above in mind, Cantonese Chinese take great pride in their distinct Cantonese Chinese social identity.

This has resulted in larger metro area enclaves of various Chinese people groups emerging. For example, in New York City, Cantonese speakers still predominate in the city's older and traditional Chinatown in Manhattan, while the newer Chinatowns of Queens and Brooklyn, have large numbers of Mandarin Chinese and Hokkien Chinese speakers respectively.

As another example, in northern California, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, Cantonese Chinese have historically and continue to predominate in the Chinatowns of San Francisco and Oakland, as well as the surrounding suburbs and metropolitan area, although Mandarin is now also found in the Silicon Valley. In contrast, southern California hosts a much larger Mandarin-speaking population, with Cantonese found in more historical Chinese communities such as that of Chinatown, Los Angeles and older Chinese ethnoburbs such as San Gabriel, Rosemead and Temple City.

Similar to other Chinese groups, the majority of Cantonese Chinese profess faith in Buddhism but what they practice is correctly called Chinese folk religion. It incorporates traditional Chinese practices such as the belief in deities (bodhisattvas) who help people gain salvation. Many Cantonese Chinese households have the deity Guanyin (the goddess of mercy) on the family altar. Guanyin is believed to have compassion for people in need. Religion, like other aspects of their life, is pragmatic and relates to the everyday issues of life. At the time of offering incense it is a routine for the Cantonese to ask Guanyin and the other deities or spirits for blessing, protection, good health, etc. Many Cantonese place great importance and value on education and skills. They believe that sufficient education and skill improvement can help them improve their standard of living. In spite of professed beliefs, the risk of materialism replacing recognition of true spiritual needs is great.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that Cantonese Chinese will recognize truth found in Christ and be motivated to become His instruments in demonstrating the transforming power of the good news.
  • Pray that evangelical Cantonese Chinese will share the message of Christ in such a way more Cantonese churches will be planted.

Learning Resources

Learn more about "Learning Paths"
Online Courses for embracing, encountering and engaging diaspora people. Work at your own pace. Begin anytime and complete the course according to your schedule. Interactive, Hands-On Application.

Learn more about "Reaching the Nations"
This book delineates five disciplines Christians should develop in order to effectively reach the nations. More specifically, it will guide Christians to develop an engagement strategy in their locale.

World Religions - Beliefs Overview
An overview of major world religions and cults - their beliefs and practices.

Other Resources

Prayer Guide for Unreached Peoples
A 30 day guide to pray for unreached people groups.

Online Talking Bible - Cantonese
The purpose of Talking Bibles is to give non-readers and the blind access to the Bible in their native language.

Prayer Guide using the GOSPELS acronym
A prayer guide that utilizes the acronym GOSPELS to pray for workers among diaspora.

Displaying 1-21 of 21 results.
Country City Metro Area Name State / Prov. Baseline Population
United StatesNew YorkNew York-Newark-Jersey CityNY300,000
United StatesTorontoToronto (Mississauga, Brampton)ON212,830
United StatesVancouverVancouver (Surrey)BC162,425
CanadaRichmondVancouver (Surrey)BC100,325
United StatesNYNew York-Newark-Jersey CityNY50,000
United StatesSFSan Francisco-Oakland-HaywardCA38,400
United StatesLALos Angeles-Long Beach-AnaheimCA33,400
United StatesCalgaryCalgaryAB25,595
United StatesEdmontonEdmontonAB19,030
United StatesMontréalMontreal (Laval)QC13,410
United StatesSan JoseSan Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa ClaraCA10,400
United StatesOttawa - GatineauOttawa–GatineauON8,680
United StatesSeattleSeattle-Tacoma-BellevueWA7,800
United StatesChgoChicago-Naperville-ElginIL5,250
United StatesPlanoDallas-Fort Worth-ArlingtonTX3,000
United StatesCharlotte Charlotte-Concord-GastoniaNC2,500
United StatesAustinAustin-Round RockTX1,200
United StatesMcAllenMcAllen-Edinburg-Mission-BrownsvilleTX400
United StatesMcAllenMcAllen-Edinburg-Mission-BrownsvilleTX100
United StatesBeaumontBeaumont-Port ArthurTX100
United StatesJefferson CityJefferson CityMO10