The Chinese overseas population

Authored by: Peter S. Li , Eva Xiaoling Li

Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Diaspora

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415600569
eBook ISBN: 9780203100387
Adobe ISBN: 9781136230967


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Much has been written about the history of emigration from China and the settlement of Chinese in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world (Benton and Pieke 1998; Fitzgerald 1972; Kwong and Miscevic 2005; Pan 1998; Wang 1981, 1991; Yen 1995). Despite this rich literature, relatively little has been published on the population of the Chinese overseas. The absence of longitudinal data, along with certain conceptual ambiguities in understanding the Chinese overseas, makes it difficult to estimate the past and future of this population. This chapter uses data from 1955 to 2009 to show the demographic trends of the population of the Chinese overseas, and provides an estimate of the future distribution based on its current rate of growth in different parts of the world. 1 The analysis indicates that even though Asia (not including China) accounts for the largest share of the Chinese overseas population, there has been a proportional shift in distribution from Asia to America. The shift is related to the differences in how the Chinese minority has been integrated in Southeast Asian and North American societies in the period after the Second World War.

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