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Indians lead international student population base in England, Wales

Indians are the topmost nationality that makes up the student population in England and Wales, with 43,175 of them enrolled at higher educational institutions during the 2021 census, according to an analysis released in London on Monday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which has been analysing census statistics to release information across various subcategories based on the responses of the online census conducted for England and Wales in March 2021, found that India made up 11.6 per cent of the non UK-born student population.

This was followed closely by China at 11.2 per cent with 41,810 Chinese students enrolled in the two regions of the United Kingdom. “India (11.6 per cent), China (11.2 per cent), Romania (9.5 per cent) and Nigeria (5.3 per cent) were the top four individual countries of birth of international students,” the ONS said. “A third of the international student population was in London (33.9 per cent),” it noted. Indian students were also among the most likely to be employed, at 11.9 per cent after Romania at 21.4 per cent.

While a majority of Indian students recorded English as their main language, Telugu, Urdu, Malayalam, Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil and Marathi were among the other languages recorded in the census.

“International students in higher education (HE) are an important sub-group of the population in England and Wales. Studying is one of the main reasons people migrate to the UK. International students contribute to the income of universities through tuition fees, as well as the economy of communities in which they live,” the ONS said.

In November last year, UK Home Office data collated by the ONS revealed that Indian students had overtaken Chinese as the largest group of foreign students studying across the United Kingdom for the first time.
Those figures co-relate with the census data, which focuses on the regions of England and Wales and also covers further characteristics such as country of birth, employment and housing.

In all, there were 373,600 non-UK-born, non-UK passport holding international students in England and Wales at the time of the 2021 census, with almost two-thirds born in non-EU countries and the remaining third born in European Union (EU) countries.

These students’ residence type varied by age, with most students aged 18 to 25 years living in communal establishments or an all-student household, while most students aged 26 years and over lived in single or multiple-family households.

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