Australia’s overseas student boom, in one chart

Photo by Luis Enrique Ascui/Getty images

The number of overseas students studying in Australia continues to go from strength to strength.

Just take a look at the chart below for evidence.


Using data from the ABS, it shows the number of short-term arrivals to Australia citing education as the reason for their visit.

It’s going berserk, surging to 566,100 in the 12 months to May, the highest annual total on record. That’s nearly 200,000 more than the number recorded in the year to May 2012, just five years ago.

Given it’s an annual total, this figure would capture multiple arrivals for some individuals as they head home, and return, to further their studies in any given year.

You can see the seasonal pattern in the monthly data, but it still gives you an indication of the trend nonetheless.

According to data from Australia’s Department of Education and Training, there were approximately 492,964 foreign students in Australia in April this year, up 14% on the levels recorded a year earlier.

Nearly 150,000 were Chinese citizens, with more than 50,000 coming from India.

Big numbers, and, based on the current trend, only likely to get bigger in the years ahead, providing a much needed boost to the Australian economy at a time when it’s performing well below its potential.

However, continued growth will also have its challenges, particularly when it comes to housing demand along with youth unemployment rates.

Still, the benefits still outweigh the negatives for Australia, not only now but also into the future.