2021-11-24 10:45

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China Has Lowest Amount of Expats by Proportion in World - UN

Source: OT-Team(S,J), National Bureau of Statistics


After the data of Chinas 7th National population census got released in May, we could see a significant change on the number of foreigners living in China.


It increased from 593,832 in 2010 to 845,697 in 2020.


And over 40% of the overseas residents had stayed in China for over 5 years before the investigation of the 7th census.


However, according to United Nations estimates, China is with the lowest proportion of foreign migrants in the total population in the world.


*Overseas residents include foreign nationals and residents of Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan in the census data. There is no separate data for foreigners alone.


Here's more information:

  • Foreigners in China Census - Full Details


China: The country with the lowest proportion of foreign migrants in the total population in the world

United Nations estimated that, from 2010 to 2020, the number of foreigners immigrating to China had only increased by 126,000.

According to official statistics from the national census in China, foreigners refer to foreign nationals who have lived in the country for more than three months or can be determined to live for more than three months at the standard time of the census. And the detailed data on foreigners living in China could only be obtained in the 6th census in 2010 and the 7th census in 2020.

In recent years, the United Nations has released the International Migrant Stock data every few years. Migrants here only refers to foreigners who have moved to other countries to live in. Most of the statistical data comes from official statistics of various countries. For some countries (such as China) that have not released official immigration data in recent years, the United Nations has adopted a model to estimate the number of people who have immigrated to these countries.



Judging from the United Nations estimates of foreigners immigrating to China, the 2010 data was similar to the 6th census. In 2019, the number of foreign immigrants in China was 720,307, with an increase of only 126,000 people than 2010.

According to United Nations estimates in July 2017, even including the data on the migrants from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, China is still the country with the lowest proportion of international migrants s to the total population in the world.




What are the main changes between 2010 and 2020?

In the past ten years, there was no official detailed statistics on the exact reasons for foreigners living in China. However, from data released by the Ministry of Education, we can see that from 2009 to 2018, the number of international students in China had doubled from 238,200 to 492,200.

In January 2019, the "Liberation Daily" cited statistics from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs to show that the number of foreigners working in Shanghai was 215,000; accounting for 23.7% of the country's total, ranking first in the country. Based on this estimate, the number of foreigners working in China should have reached more than 900,000 in 2019.

This means that as of 2020, it is estimated that there were more than one million foreigners working and studying in China.








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