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Education SystemCanada International Student Statistics (Updated 2022)

Canada International Student Statistics (Updated 2022)

At all levels of the Canadian educational system, Canada draws a large number of overseas students. There are many reasons why international students find Canada an ideal place for tertiary education, but the multicultural environment tends to be the strongest motive. Canada’s educational system is undoubtedly attractive; it gives international students an abundance of choices, from public institutions to private ones. Not to mention the degree programs that provide unrivaled academic expertise.

If you decide to study in Canada, you are allowing yourself to experience the vivid student life, participate in various summer camps, and join the labor market as soon as you graduate. In Canada, there are over 90 higher education institutions, each of which plays an important role in providing students with all of the resources they need to receive a high-quality education. The student population keeps increasing year by year, which means international students appreciate the excellence of Canadian higher education institutions.

Number of International Students in Canada Overview

  • According to the National Statistics Office of Canada, in 2021, 621,565 international students hold study permits intended for different study levels.
  • The number of international students in Canada enrolled in higher education only is currently 388,782 students.
  • Compared to 6 years ago, the number of international students holding study permits was almost half of what Canada counts today. 352,330 international students were holding study permits in 2015. Thus, facing a 43% increase in the international student population from 2015 to 2021.
  • Globally, the number of overseas students has increased significantly. In recent years, Canada has surpassed the rest of the main Western countries in terms of the growth of foreign students.
  • As per Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, there were 528,190 foreign students with study permits in 2020. In comparison to 2021, the number of international students holding study permits increased by approximately 15%. However, this does not necessarily imply that students with this sort of visa were in Canada.
  • The total number of students in postsecondary education institutions, as of 2020, is 2.18 million, including both international students and domestic ones.

International Students in Canada Through the Years

Number of international students in Canada

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  • In a matter of ten years, the number of overseas students enrolled in formal programs increased from 142,170  in 2010/2011 to 388,782 in 2019/2020. As a consequence, the proportion of international students enrolled increased from 7.2 percent to 17.8 percent by 2019/2020. 
  • Approximately one in every ten overseas students who arrived in Canada in 2000 or later became a landed immigrant within ten years. Thus, inspiring new ideas, bolstering innovation, and increasing people-to-people relationships that are critical to international trade and the global economy.
  • In recent years, the proportion of international students planning to study at the elementary and secondary school levels has decreased. However, this has been offset by an increase in the proportion planning to study at the college and master’s degree levels.
  • Consulting the diagram, from 2014/15 to 2017/18, the number of international students has stayed in the range of 200,000. However, the number of international students in Canada over these years has increased gradually. 
  • As the number of overseas students studying in Canada has expanded over the last two decades, numerous regulations have been put in place to help them in working while studying. International students at the college level saw the greatest growth in labor market involvement, rising from 7% in 2000 to 57% in 2018.
  • According to 2017 statistics from the National Statistics Office of Canada, 490,775 international students have been studying in 12 provinces and territories of Canada. Ontario hosts the largest number of international students in its universities, with more than 40 thousand international students located in this province.
  • The international student population in Canada has experienced approximately a 12.5% decline from 2018 to 2019. The total number of international students in 2018 was 567,065.

International Students in Canada by Country of Origin

  • According to IRCC from 2018, nearly half of all international students come from only two countries: India (172,625), which accounts for about 30% of enrollments, and China (142,895), which accounts for about 25%.
  • In most broad university program areas, China was the leading source of international enrolment.
  • France, Vietnam, Brazil and Iran are some of the other countries from which international students tend to join higher education in Canada. The majority of them (58,800), according to 2019 statistics, have chosen universities in the province of Ontario.

International Students in Canada by Field of Study

  • Despite accounting for only 5.0 percent of all enrolments in 2018/2019, growth in the field of mathematics, computer, and information sciences has been the highest percent during the previous decade, with the number of Canadian and international students growing from 47,748 in 2008/2009 to 96,768 in 2018/2019.
  • Humanities programs had the greatest drop in enrollment. While these programs accounted for 11.0 percent of all enrolments in 2018/2019, the overall number of students enrolled in these programs declined by 19.4 percent during a 10-year period, from 266,229 to 214,503.
  • Between 2008/2009 and 2018/2019, the increase in overseas student enrolment in business, management, and public administration greatly surpassed the increase in Canadian students. Overseas students, increasing by 65,868 in this time frame, accounted for the bulk of total enrollment growth, which was 87,948.
  • Programs in health and related fields were a more common choice for Canadian students than for international students in 2018/2019.
  • The number of overseas students enrolling in architecture, engineering, and related technologies differed by 39,702 in a matter of 10 years. Specifically, 15,927 international students studied this field in 2008/2009, whereas in 2018/2019, there were 55,629 international students.
  • The least number of international students enroll in the education programs. From 2008/2009 to 2018/2019, only 1,374 more students studied this field.
  • The most culminating field of study tends to be business, management, and public administration. In 2018/2019, the number of international students enrolled in these programs was 96,294.

International Students in Canada by Gender

  • Bachelor’s Programs: As of 2018/2019, enrolments of international students in bachelor’s are dominated by female students, 70,800 (50,1%). However, the number of male students doesn’t change drastically in comparison, since it comprises 70,456 (49.9%). 
  • From 2018/2019 to 2019/2020, the number of female international students enrolled in bachelor’s programs has increased by 8,259. In 2019/2020, bachelor’s programs counted 79,059 female students and 80,076 male students.
  • Master’s Programs: The proportion of male international students (22,347) studying for master’s degrees has increased by 11% from 2018/2019 to 2019/2020 (24,993). 
  • There is not a significant difference between the enrolment of female students compared to male students in 2019/2020 at the master’s level. There were 20,037 female international students and 24,993 male international students enrolled in master’s programs across Canada.
  • Doctoral Programs: The number of international students studying doctoral degrees in Canada during 2019/2020 was 20,814. Male international students (12,492) comprise the vast majority, compared to 8,322 female students at the doctoral level.

Brief Description of International Student Population in Canada Over the Past Years

  • International students accounted for 14.7 percent of overall enrolments in universities in 2017/2018, indicating a rise of 8.2 percent from 2009/2010.
  • At the collegiate level, the percentage of enrolment from overseas sources increased from 5.2 percent in 2009/2010 to 13.2 percent in 2017/2018.
  • The proportion of overseas enrolments varied significantly by province. This was notably true at the college level, when overseas students accounted for fewer than 1% of enrolments in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador in 2017/2018, compared to 21.4 percent in Ontario.

Why Study in Canada

1. Marvelous Education System

The excellent level of education is one of the most important reasons why students choose to study in Canada. Many Canadian institutions are at the forefront of groundbreaking discoveries and technological advancements. As a matter of fact, Canadian universities tend to hold the highest positions in international rank. Referring to QS World University Rankings, more than 20 universities are at the top level and continue to maintain their positions due to their academic excellence.

2. Working While Studying

There are many job opportunities for international students, and frankly, this is quite fulfilling because students can financially cover their living expenses. Students holding study permits can easily undertake jobs on and off campus. However, they are not restricted to this kind of setting and can find other convenient jobs.

3. Multicultural Environment

Canada has evolved into a multicultural, post-national society. Its boundaries include the whole globe, and Canadians have discovered that their two international languages, as well as its diversity, provide a competitive edge and a source of ongoing creativity and innovation. International students are always prone to such places, and Canada surely provides a comfortable and diverse environment.

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