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ARCHIVED - Economic Impact of International Education in Canada - An Update

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8. Canada’s Performance in the Global Market

To remain competitive in the global economy, Canada needs to attract the best and the brightest to contribute to our talent pool in many areas – scientific and research development, economic development opportunities, cultural diversification, just to name a few.  International students studying in Canada not only bring in substantial income to the local communities, but also may become a valuable source of highly skilled labour to our economy at a time when the western world is facing potential labour shortages especially among top talent.

In this section, we present statistics available from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics regarding international student mobility at the tertiary level by country.[18] In Table 24, we have shown the number of international students in selected host countries from 1999 to 2009 (the most recent year in which data for most countries is available).

Table 24 Number of Tertiary Level International Students in Selected Host Countries, 1999 to 2009
YEAR 19992000200120022003200420052006200720082009
New Zealand6,9008,21011,06917,73226,35941,42240,774Data not avail.33,04731,56538,351
Canada32,46636,45042,71149,57259,06765,00169,12668,52092,881Data not avail.Data not avail.
Great Britain232,540222,936225,722227,273255,233300,056318,399330,078351,470341,791368,968
Australia 117,485105,764120,987179,619188,160166,954177,034184,710211,526230,635257,637
World Total1,602,1861,731,9131,804,9332,104,9352,360,2232,432,2562,475,9862,543,6592,745,0802,775,0122,799,408

Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Table 25 shows the number of tertiary level international students in these selected countries as a percentage of total number of international students studying away from home country from 1999 to 2009 (i.e., each country’s share in the global market).

Table 25 Selected Host Countries of Tertiary Level International Students, Market Shares, 1999 to 2009, and Average Annual Growth Rate
YEAR19992000200120022003200420052006200720082009Ave. Ann. Grth Rt.
New Zealand0.40%0.50%0.60%0.80%1.10%1.70%1.60%Data not avail.1.20%1.10%1.40%22%
Canada2.00%2.10%2.40%2.40%2.50%2.70%2.80%2.70%3.40%Data not avail.Data not avail.14%
FranceData not avail.7.90%8.20%7.90%9.40%9.80%9.60%9.70%9.00%8.80%8.90%8%
GermanyData not avail.10.80%11.00%10.40%10.20%10.70%10.50%8.20%7.50%6.80%7.10%2%
Great Britain14.50%12.90%12.50%10.80%10.80%12.30%12.90%13.00%12.80%12.30%13.20%5%
World Total100%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%7%

Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Data in this Table indicate that Canada took in about 3% of all international students in the global market, slightly more than New Zealand.  Canada’s market share at this level of education has also been growing from 1999 to 2007.  By comparison, Australia, a country similar in size and population to Canada, took up 9.2% of the global market in this area.  Of all these selected countries, US accounted for the largest market share, at 23.6% in 2009.

Table 25 further shows the average annual growth rate in the number of international students in these countries during the period from 1999 to 2007 (the most recent year data is available for Canada).

Of all these countries under comparison, New Zealand has experienced the strongest growth in the number of international students in the country for college and university education.  Canada ranked above average, presenting an average annual growth rate of 14% compared with the 7% growth rate for all countries.  Results from these two variables indicate that Canada has made inroads over recent years in attracting international students.  This is consistent with our findings in the literature review section shown earlier.

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[18] The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is the statistical office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and is the UN depository for comparable statistics in the fields of education, science and technology, culture, and communications.