Despite a once-conspicuous presence in the Western United States, little is known demo-graphically about the Chinese in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United States. The widely accepted model of a declining male “sojourner society,” beset by draconian restrictions on immigration and the impossibility of family formation, is seemingly contradicted by the continuous economic vitality of urban Chinatowns in the United States. This article tests the largely unexamined demographic structure of the Chinese population in the United States through the application of cohort-component projection on census data from 1880 through 1940, including data recently made available as part of the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS). The results fail to support the model of passive population decline, suggesting instead that the Chinese actively engaged in a collective strategy of long-distance labor exchange to maximize economic productivity among Chinese workers in the United States.