A/Prof. Yan Tan3
3University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Data on diaspora is incomplete, inaccurate and inconsistent, with challenges being exacerbated by the ambiguous and evolving concept of diaspora. Diasporas are not typically included in origin countries’ population census or registration, despite the fact that transnational studies recognise their important roles in shaping homeland development. To measure and characterise diaspora populations, countries of origin heavily rely on population records provided by destination countries. This paper brings two concepts that have evolved hand-in-hand – transnationalism and diaspora – to analyse the data on diasporas obtained from destination countries. Based on Australia’s recently integrated census-migration data, and using Australia-based Chinese diaspora as an example, we demonstrate how the linked data can be used to construct the demographic and socio-economic profile of a diaspora population on both permanent and temporary bases, disaggregated by visa and citizenship, and stratified by geographic distribution. The internal mobility of Chinese diaspora is analysed. Nuanced understandings of the magnitude, characteristics and distributions of diaspora populations (Chinese diaspora in this case) provide a robust baseline for designing effective diaspora engagement policies.
Yan Tan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Population at the University of Adelaide. She conducts research in population and environmental studies, with a focus on migration. She has a special interest in the impacts of climate change (or environmental change, broadly defined) on migration.