The number of Chinese Americans that were born overseas who are now living in the United States doubled in the decade between 2000 and 2010, a UN report states. Experts are attributing the rise to the growing middle class in China, who have been exiting their own country in droves to pursue business or educational opportunities abroad.
Around 3.79 million Chinese people are now living in the United States, with 2.2 million of those being immigrants who were born in China, according to a UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs report.
“There has been an astronomical increase in Chinese students coming to US, driven by economic growth in China, improved educational infrastructure and a continued uncertainty about China’s trajectory,” says Madeleine Sumption, assistant director for research and senior policy advisor in the international program at Washington’s Migration Institute. “Having an education outside China is viewed as being an insurance policy and more and more parents are able to take advantage of that.”
22,000 US visas were given to Chinese nationals in the United States in 2000; that number had jumped to as much as 189,000 by 2012. The increased government investment in the education system of China has also helped contribute to a greater portion of the country’s population being able to put in applications for overseas study.
Other factors that may be contributing to increased Chinese immigration include lenient immigration policies in the United States that are encouraging high-skill workers to take employment in the country.