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British Council study: The shape of cohorts to come

While the United Kingdom and the United States will remain the biggest players in international higher education, their market shares will decrease in the future as traditional source countries develop their own capacities to offer education to domestic as well as foreign students, says a new report released by the British Council on 10 December. Prepared in cooperation with Oxford Economics, The shape of international education to 2025 forecasts future demand for higher education based on an analysis of economic and demographic trends. The research draws on data from the UN Population Division and the OECD to project household wealth and the population of 18-22 olds. The student population projections are accompanied by an analysis of the academic, economic, sociocultural and political factors that influence student mobility. 

According to the report, the size of the global middle class will increase from 1.7 billion in 2011 to 4.9 billion in 2030, and two thirds of it will come from the Asia-Pacific region. In 2025, China will still be the largest supplier of international students, followed by India, Nigeria, Germany and Saudi Arabia. Other leading places of origin will include France, Turkey, South Korea and Pakistan. India is expected to have the largest youth population in 2025, followed by China, Indonesia, Nigeria, the US and Pakistan. Looking even further, in 2078 Africa will be home to more young people than any other region in the world, surpassing even Asia. The countries with the largest youth populations are expected to see the largest growth in demand for higher education.

Due to negative demographic trends, Russia, South Korea, Germany, Italy and Japan will find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum, with declining levels of tertiary enrolment. Many of these countries are already implementing policies to promote international education in order to compensate for the decrease in student numbers. 

The full report can be purchased British Council