Asian Students in America

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About 492,000 Asian students studied in the US during the 2011-2012 academic year, accounting for 64% of America’s international students and contributing $14 billion to the US economy. The number of students from Asia has increased by 164,000, or 50%, since the 2001-02 academic year.

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International Students from Asia

TOP PLACES OF ORIGIN, 2011-2012 Academic Year

Asia accounts for six of the ten leading countries of origin of international students in the US

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Source: Institute of International Education (IIE) and NAFSA (Association of International Educators).

 Top 5 Origins of Asian Students* in America

 

 

 

 Asian Students in America from Selected Countries

 

 

 Asian* Students in America by State and Territory

This table shows Asian students studying in America by state and territory for academic year 2011/12.

Source: Open Doors Report, Institute of International Education

 

Total Asian Students* in America by Academic Year

The amount of Asian students, which increased steadily beginning in the 2007-08 academic year following years of stagnation, has more than doubled in 2014-15 compared to its 2000-01 levels. However, this increase has coincided with a general increase in international students in the United States from all over the world, and Asian students’ share of the global total of international students in the US increased only incrementally from 2009 to 2015 from 61% to 65%. 

Total Asian Students in the US by Academic Year

Source: Open Doors Report, Institute of International Education

Regional Comparison of International Students Studying in America

More international students come from Asia than any other region*.

Source: Open Doors Report, Institute of International Education

 

Regional Comparison of International Students Studying in America

This table shows regional comparison of international students in America from academic year 2000/01 to 2010/12.

 Source: Open Doors Report, Institute of International Education

Asian Students in the United States by Field of Study

Approximately two thirds of international students from Asia at undergraduate or graduate institutions in the United States chose to study Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields as well as Business and Management in the 2014-15 academic year. The humanities, on the other hand, are less popular among Asian students, showing the emphasis placed on hard skills. Country-specific numbers, however, often vary. For example, more than 37% of Indian students in the US study engineering, nearly double the Asian average, and 15% of Japanese students study intensive English, more than seven times the Asian average. Over 20% of Nepalese students in the United States also study physical and life sciences, more than double their counterparts from the rest of Asia.  

 

Asian Students by Field of Study

Source: Open Doors Report, Institute of International Education

Regional Origins of Asian Students in the US

Two thirds of the 630,000 international students from Asia are East Asian, and nearly 75% of students from East Asia were Chinese nationals during the 2014-15 academic year. Indian students also make up more than 80% of student of South Asian origin. The largest contingent of students from Southeast Asia is from Vietnam, which sends more than double the amount of students to the US than Indonesia, the second largest Southeast Asian source of international students in the US. 

Regional Origins of Asian Students in the United States

Source: Open Doors Report, Institute of International Education

Origins of Asian Students, Relative to All International Students in the US

East Asia was the largest source region of international students in the United States not only within the wider Asia-Pacific region but also the entire world in the 2014-15 academic year. In fact, the amount of students in the US from China alone nearly matched the amount of students from the rest of the world, as Chinese students represented approximately 31% of the total amount of international students in the US. 

Asian Students by Region, Relative to All International US Students

Source: Open Doors Report, Institute of International Education

 
 
 

 

*NOTE

This projects defines Asia as:

  • Northeast Asia: China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong Kong
  • Southeast Asia: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Timor-Leste
  • South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
  • Pacific: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu