chapter  4
13 Pages

Asian immigrants in English-speaking countries: a global perspective

In 2008, close to 214 million people, about 3.1 percent of the world population, lived outside of their birth country (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2008). If the world’s immigrants lived in one country, they would represent the fifth largest nation in the world following China, India, the United States, Indonesia, and Brazil (Martin and Widgren, 2002). Among the 214 million immigrants are refugees or asylum seekers; in 2010, this group numbered 15.4 million worldwide (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2008). Worldwide, it is estimated that 55 million people of Chinese ancestry live

outside of mainland China (Ryan, 2002). Another large group of Asian immigrants are South Asians – 20 million people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives live outside their country of birth (Rangaswamy, 2005). An estimated 7.5 million Filipinos and 2.5 million Vietnamese also live outside of their home country as immigrants (Hugo, 2005b). Though much smaller in number, in 2001, 5.6 million Koreans, or 8 percent of the total number of South and North Koreans, lived in 151 different countries (Yoon, 2005). Asians constitute close to 50 percent of migrants to English-speaking countries

(Hugo, 2005b). Table 4.1 presents the demographic characteristics of Asian immigrants in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, and United States. In Australia, Asians account for 45 percent of all immigrants, with the largest number from China and India. New Zealand accepts about 60,000 new immigrants annually, and, as with Australia, Chinese and Indians represent the largest group. Asians comprise 60 percent of immigrant admissions in Canada. In 201011, immigrants from the Philippines (13 percent) were the largest group followed by people from India and China (both 11 percent). In the UK, because of the history of colonization, the majority of Asian immigrants are from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka), but there has been an increasing number of Chinese immigrants. In the United States, which admits the largest number of immigrants in the world, 35 percent are from Asia (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2011).