Migration patterns meant that it was going to happen sooner or later - and now it’s finally happened. Mandarin has now overtaken Cantonese as the Number One Chinese language spoken in Australia (see info from previous census years).
The following pie chart shows the numbers and relative proportions of the different Chinese languages, and Mandarin is now spoken by 51.4% of all Chinese speakers, while Cantonese is now only spoken by 40.8%.
But not only is this true of Australia as a whole – this trend is now reflected in every single capital city. The following column graph shows the number of speakers of each language in each of the capital cities in Australia and you can see that the Mandarin column (red) is taller than the Cantonese column (green) in every case – sometimes by quite a significant margin.
In case you’re interested in the actual figures for your ministry, you can get them here:
|Chinese, nfd||Cantonese||Hakka||Mandarin||Wu||Min Nan||Chinese, nec||Total|
|Australian Capital Territory||594||3,475||38||6,656||27||179||0||10,969|
Many Chinese churches established in the 80′s and 90′s are predominantly Cantonese speaking. This is because they were set up by people who left Hong Kong due to the announcement of the British handover of Hong Kong in 1997. And while Cantonese was the predominant language in some capital cities for a long time, this is no longer the case.
The reality is that the majority of Chinese speakers now speak Mandarin – and in order to serve them and reach them, Chinese churches must prioritise and fund Mandarin ministry everywhere!
How well is your ministry prepared to reach Mandarin speakers?
From the age profile of Chinese born in China in a previous post you can see how significant student ministry is. But a common question is: how many of those students are likely to return to China in the next few years, and how many are going to remain in Australia? Obviously this changes a lot given the relative strength of the Australian dollar, immigration policy and labour market trends. But the 2006 and 2011 census gives us a useful snapshot of exactly how many people stayed and departed…
Here is the age profile of Chinese people in Australia who were born in China – both at the 2006 census (green line) and the 2011 census (red line). Click on the graph for a larger version.
But how many of those from 2006 actually stayed on in Australia? Did the majority return to China? or did the majority stay on in Australia, finding jobs and establishing a new life here? This is significant for those doing student ministry and returnees ministry among the Mainland Chinese.
One of the census questions relates to year of migration in Australia. And from that, we can work out how many Mainland Chinese people were around five years ago at the last census.
First off, here is a graph showing the age profile of Mainland Chinese at 2011 (represented in the red line above). But it shows which of them migrated in the last five years (red bar), which of them were here before that time (green bar). Click on the graph for a larger version.
Here is the age profile of Chinese people born in China from 2006 (represented in the green line in the first graph). And what we can work out is how many of them departed Australia during the subsequent five years to the 2011 census (red bar), and how many stayed on (green bar). Click on the graph for a larger version.
From this we can work out, for each age group, what proportion of the Chinese in 2006 stayed on in Australia during the subsequent five years, and what proportion of them departed (either through emigration … or death). Click for larger version.
While it looks pretty dramatic to the left and right of the graph, that is only dealing with small overall figures. The large bulk are in the 20′s, and in this next graph I’ve zoomed in on the 16-25 age bracket (age at the 2006 census). This is the age group that’s of interest when we’re talking about uni students.
The percentage varies a little for each age bracket – but from this you can see that of the group of 18-year old Mainland Chinese students in 2006, only 26% of them had departed Australia five years later, while a huge 74% of them still resided in Australia at the 2011 census.
Partly this is due to the fact that the majority of Mainland Chinese students takes what the AEI calls a “multi-sector pathway” of study during their time in Australia (see previous post) and so will generally do more than just a standard three-year undergraduate degree. However you can see that even students who were a little older (and presumably further through their “multi-sector” course of study) still end up with about 30% of their group departing.
Bear in mind that what we are seeing here is only a snapshot of the situation between two particular points in time (2006 and 2011), and that what will happen with today’s Mainland Chinese students may be quite different.
But this is still a surprising result, given that many have expected that much higher numbers of students would return overseas after several years of study. In contrast, the figures show that about only about 28% departed by the time the next census came around!
Note: for more detail and implications for ministry, see post on this other website.
In an earlier post I shared the age profile of Australian Born Chinese (ABCs) from the 2011 ABS census (see previous post). And we’ve also seen that on the whole, younger ABCs tend to stick around rather than relocate overseas (see previous post).
Today I thought I’d focus in on a very significant part of that age profile from the 2011 ABS census – the section from 0 years to about 18 years of age.
You’ll notice that the section of that age profile that corresponds to primary schoolers and high schoolers – from 6 years to 18 years of age – and that part of the age profile is relatively flat. See the red box in the diagram below.
This means that at the moment, the number of ABCs in each of the years of both primary and high school is about the same.
However the future for schools ministry is something else entirely… notice the red box in this next diagram. It shows a steady increase in the number of ABCs born over the last six years. These kids haven’t hit school yet – but they will.
It may already seem in some suburbs that there are a lot of Chinese kids in schools. But in the future, our primary schools, and after that our high schools are going to see a growth in the number of ABCs that will mean an increase of at least 50% to the ABC population of schools – and that trend shows no sign of slowing down.
The question is: will Chinese churches have gotten involved in schools ministry? will they have connected with their communities and establish avenues for unreached ABC kids and their families to hear about Jesus?
Recently I posted the age profiles of Australian Born Chinese (ABCs) – as well as the age profile of Chinese born in China and Hong Kong (see previous post).
Today I want to zoom in on the ABCs – because there are heaps of them on the younger spectrum of the age profile. And many are in fact the children of migrants from China.
An important question for Christian ministries trying to reach out to them is: will these kids be around here in Australia in the future? or will their parents return to China with these kids in the near future? Yes, there may be heaps of younger ABCs around right now – but will they stay? or will they go? This will significantly shape what church ministries and uni will look like in the future.
This next graph shows you the age profile of ABCs from both the 2006 ABS census (green line), and the 2011 ABS census (red line). This allows us to compare the age profile of the ABC community at these two points in recent history. Click on the graph for a larger version.
Have the ABC kids in the 2006 census stuck around? or have their parents taken them overseas? The shape of the green graph certainly has similarities to the red graph. But what I have done with this next graph is aged the 2006 green line by five years, and overlaid it on the 2011 red line.
It seems that on the whole, younger ABCs from 2006 have actually stuck around in Australia during the past five years. In fact the age profile suffers its first decrease only at the 22-year old mark – presumably as some ABCs finish uni and get jobs overseas. This trend suggests that the huge numbers we are currently seeing on the left hand side of the age profile, will translate to equally huge numbers of ABCs in our high school and university ministries down the track (more on this in our next post).
This also says a lot about the families that these kids are born into: on the whole, families who have children look like they tend to stay on in Australia. This stability is significant for church ministries looking to connect with these younger families, and minister to their kids. It means that new family that you can see coming out of the hospital with their ABC baby is almost certain to still be around in five years time.
So – how are your ministries preparing for the future?
Census data from the 2011 ABS census has been around for several months now. Some other groups such as Anglicare have already put out some information about the Chinese in Sydney, which is great to see. I thought I’d put out some stats that would complement that information.
First off, here is the age profile of people of Chinese ancestry who were born in China (red line), Hong Kong (green line), and Australia (blue line). Click on the graph to get a larger version.
The most prominent peak in the red line is of course the university students who have come from China in recent years to study. And it’s great that university ministries and churches near unis have already noticed and are trying to respond to the huge opportunities to love and serve and witness to students from China.
However the blue line is particularly significant because it gives you the age profile of Australian Born Chinese (ABCs) – and you can see that there is a very sizeable contingent on the left-hand side of the graph. While university ministries are right now struggling to cope with the prominent red spike, bear in mind that in the future what will become much more prominent for those ministries is the blue wave of second generation ABCs. While there have always been ABCs around, this number looks like it will double.
Notice also how the left hand side of the blue line also completely dwarfs the green line of Hong Kong-born Chinese. In the future, the ABCs will become a more significant shaping force on Australia’s Chinese community than even the Chinese from Hong Kong ever were.
Something else to point out is that many of the ABCs on the far left hand side are not actually born to people from Hong Kong (the green line) – many are in fact children of people from China (the red line). While in the past the culture of ABCs was shaped by the fusion of Western and Hong Kong / Malaysian-Chinese culture, this will no longer be the case in the future. The culture of future ABCs will be shaped more by the fusion of the Western worldview and the worldview of migrants from China.
How is your ministry preparing for the future – or the present, for that matter?
Here is another graph generated from Immigration data, showing the number of permanent settlers, who were born in China, by year of arrival.
…and here is that data in a table if you need the actual numbers.
| Year of
It’s interesting that there was actually a dip in 2010… That’s only about three quarters what was in 2009. Is this a blip? or does that mean that migration from China is tailing off…?
Okay. So while we all wait with baited breath for the 2011 ABS census, I’ve found another awesome source of up-to-date stats about Chinese ministry. It’s from the ‘Settlement Reporting’ online tool at the Department of Immigration.
Here for instance is a graph showing you the number of people who settled in Australia in the 2010 calendar year, who were born in China. And the strange age brackets are not my fault…
|Age on arrival||00-05||06-11||12-15||16-17||18-24||25-34||35-44||45-54||55-64||65+|
|Place of birth: China||980||817||707||370||3280||4753||2791||2210||1807||1192|
This is useful because it gives us a pretty up to date snapshot of what migration is like right now. Last year, 18,907 additional people who were born in China decided to settle in Australia!
Several years ago I posted a graph showing the number of overseas students from several Asian countries (see “Uni students from China“). It was quite shocking because it showed the huge and continued growth of students from China compared to the relatively small and flat levels of students from other Asian countries. That graph showed the levels from 2002 to 2007, and here it is again:
But, how has that picture changed since?
Here is a graph I put together with recent data from Australia Education International (AEI) showing what has happened since then (click for a larger graph):
You don’t need to know anything about stats to see that the China line has only shot up even higher, while all the other lines have remain flat. In March of this year, AEI recorded 80,700 higher education students from China – almost double what we saw back in the 2008 post (where China was at 48,695)!
You might also remember that the last ABS census held in August 2006 – and we are due for another census in August of this year. But even now you can tell that once the data is released, the figures for Chinese students will have almost doubled!
For those who want the actual numbers, here they are:
All this means that those doing university ministries increasingly cannot ignore Chinese ministry. And those wanting to reach the Chinese have to work harder to reach the increasing number of students that come to Australia each year…
This table shows the number of arrivals on temporary student visas in 2009-10.
|Country of birth||2009-10|
|Other SE Asia||7636|
|Other NE Asia||1634|
…and here is that data in visual form. Note that these are arrivals only – not not the total number of temporary student visa holders.
Clearly, China dominates the graph compared to other South East and North East Asian countries with a huge 128,665 entries. In fact, China arrivals represent a huge 26.3% of the total number of temporary student visa arrivals in 2009-10!
Much more useful is this next graph, showing the number of temporary student visa holders (not arrivals) from June 2007 to June 2010.
Notice also how the lines tend to go up and down at different points of the year – presumably representing students who return home for the holidays, and the gap between the departure of one group of graduating students, and the arrival of the next group of fresh students.
Notice also how, yet again, China dominates – and you can see the number of students steadily rising over the three year period, while the lines for the others remain relatively flat.
But more interesting, it provides a useful indication of how many overseas students from Asia might be around at a particular point of the year…
And while there are no major surprises this time around, here are some up-to-date stats on immigration into Australia from Asian countries, to help you get a picture on who is coming to our shores.
Firstly here is information about the top countries from which people arrived as settlers over the last few years:
|Country of birth||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10|
…and here is that information in visual form.
Notice the slowing down of immigration from some of the other significant countries (such as New Zealand, United Kingdom and India) – but the continued rise in immigration from China. In the 2009-10 financial year 16644 people from China arrived to settle in Australia.
Secondly here is information now countries in South East Asia and North East Asia, and the numbers of people from those places who migrated to Australia, together with what state they intended to make their home in.
|Country of birth||NSW||VIC||QLD||SA||WA||TAS||NT||ACT||Total|
|Other SE Asia||32||34||16||6||14||1||7||1||111|
|Other NE Asia||22||13||5||4||5||0||2||0||51|
…and here is that information in visual form.
You can see that China dominates permanent settler arrivals from Asian countries, and these Chinese migrants are predominantly heading to NSW (7062) and VIC (5969).
And thirdly, here is information about the trend of migration from these Asian countries over the last three years. Note that this includes not just overseas arrivals (which are the numbers above), but also onshore migration applications (eg. temporary student visa holders who then apply for citizenship).
|Country of birth||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10|
|Other SE Asia||226||203||176|
|Other NE Asia||85||106||97|
…and here is that info again in visual form.
Not surprisingly, China dominates the graph with 25366 permanent additions in 2009-10. But unexpectedly the Philippines comes second in front of all the other countries in South East and North East Asia.
If your ministry is not gearing itself to reach Chinese migrants, take a careful look at these figures…