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The Impact of Chinese Student Migration on Local Chinese Communities

Chinese Students and Coethnic Residents across England

The contribution of Chinese students to local Chinese communities in the major HE destinations can be analyzed by comparing the growth in the number and distribution of the Chinese students and local Chinese residents in the UK. Defining Chinese students as a sum of students from mainland China (denoted in yellow) and other Chinese from Hong Kong and Singapore (shown in blue), Fig. 14.1 shows rapid growth of Chinese students in the UK from fewer than 20,000 in 2000/2001 to more than 80,000 in 2011/2012. The share of mainland Chinese students increased from about a half to more than 80 % over the same period. This indicates that mainland Chinese were the driving force behind the rapid growth in the number of Chinese students in the UK during that decade.

Table 14.1 illustrates the growth in the number of students from mainland China compared with other categories of student in the UK. Their share of the total increased from 5.5 % to 18.8 % from 2000/01 to 2011/12 (focusing only on mainland Chinese) or from 11 % to 23 % (if Chinese from Hong Kong and Singapore are included). It is worth noting that students from Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand are excluded, although ethnic Chinese may form a significant proportion of their number.

Focusing on the growth in the number of and the relationship between Chinese students and local Chinese residents, Table 14.2 shows that the distribution of HE resources in England has a significant influence on the Chinese population.3 Of 326 local-authority areas (districts or boroughs), more than three quarters (77 %) have no university, 15 % have just one university, and the rest have two or more universities. A correlation can be identified between the average number of Chinese students and that of local

Growth of Chinese students by region of origin (Source

Fig. 14.1 Growth of Chinese students by region of origin (Source: Created by the author based on information provided by the HESA. The number of students is fulltime equivalent)

Table 14.1 Internationalization of higher education and position of Chinese students in the uK

Year

All students

International

students

Mainland

Chinese

All Chinese

Share %

(i)

(2)

(3)

(4)

  • (2)/
  • (1)
  • (3)/
  • (2)
  • (2)/
  • (4)
  • 2000/
  • 2001

1,454,949

180,563

9899

19,908

12.4

5.5

11.0

  • 2011/
  • 2012

1,923,274

364,699

68,385

83,771

19.0

18.8

23.0

Growth

1.32

2.02

6.91

4.21

-

-

-

Source: Created by author based on the information provided by the HESA. Figures are numbers of fulltime equivalent students

Chinese residents, and also between the growth rates of both groups from 2001 to 2011. Table 14.2 estimates the proportion of Chinese students to the local Chinese population, which varies from 21 % in single-university boroughs to about 30 % in boroughs with two universities. The greater the number of Chinese students, the greater the number of Chinese residents and the higher the rate of growth of the local Chinese population. The

Table 14.2 Distribution and growth of Chinese residents and students by university resources, 2011

Number of universities

Number of districts

%

Chinese

students

Chinese

residents

Resident growth % (2001-2011)

Students as % of total (2011)

0

252

77.3

636

52.7

1

50

15.3

529

1968

93.2

21.2

2

17

5.2

1724

4101

147.4

29.6

>3

7

2.1

2342

6336

87.2

27.0

Total/

326

100

966

1164

65.1

-

average

Source: Created by the author based on a combination of UK Census and HESA data

exception is bigger cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester with three or more universities, where the growth in the number of Chinese students is only one of many factors contributing to the growth of the Chinese population.

 
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