As per the International migrant
stock 2019 released recently by the UN, the share of migrants in the global
population has slightly increased compared to 2015. India is the source &
USA is the destination of most migrants in the world. Here is a detailed data
All through the known history,
humans have been migrating to different places. Over the past few decades,
advancements in transportation and communication have made global opportunities
accessible to a greater human population.
Whether it is the availability of
better living options or escape from a turmoil in the country of origin, the
number of people migrating to different countries has seen a remarkable
increase over the last few decades. Migrating population generally have a
positive impact contributing towards the economy of the migrated country as
well as contributing to the country of origin through their remittances.
However, the trends aren’t even
across the globe with various factors influencing migration and population. In
this story, we explore the numbers and the trends with respect to international
Share of migrant population among
World’s population is on the rise
As per the data provided in International Migrant Stock 2019
published by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Population Division, the share of migrant population in the total world
population is 3.5% in mid-2019. This is a noticeable increase from 2015 where
the share was 3.4% and from 2010, when it was 3.2%.
While the increase of share appears
to be marginal, the growth rate of migrant population is higher than the global
population growth rate.
What about the absolute numbers of
As of mid-2019, the total World’s
migrant population is 27.16 crores, whereas in 2015 it was 24.88 crores i.e. an
increase by 9.15%. Meanwhile, the Global population as of mid-2019 is 771.31
crores while it was 737.97 cores in 2015 i.e. an increase by 4.52%. The higher
growth rate of migrant population contributes to the increased share of migrant
population. This trend of higher growth rate in migrant population compared to
world population growth rate is observed since 2000.
It can also be observed that there is
a fall in migrant population growth rate compared to previous years, in line
with the falling growth rate of global population.
Increase in share of migrant
population in more developed regions
The UN report groups the countries
into – ‘more developed regions (MDRs)’ and ‘less developed regions (LDRs)’.
As per International Migrant Stock 2019
of the population in MDRs is migrant population. The share of migrant
population in MDRs has gone up compared to the previous years, wherein it was
11.2%, 10.6% and 9.8% in 2015, 2010 and 2005 respectively.
On the other hand, the share of
migrant population in LDRs is less with only 1.9% as of mid-2019. Earlier it
was 1.8%, 1.6% and 1.2% in 2015,2010 and 2005 respectively.
Over the years, there is a marginal
increase in the share of migrant population even in the less developed regions.
There is a fall in the share of migrant population in Least Developed countries
within the Less developed regions and an increase in the share of migrant
population in other countries within this region. This indicates migration from
least developed countries into countries comparatively better off than them
albeit being less developed themselves.
The World Bank categorizes the
countries as per income. As per UN’s data on migration, the share of migrants
in the population of High-Income countries is 14%, up from 13% in 2015 and 12.1%
in 2010. This share has shown a constant increase over the decades.
Among the Middle-Income countries,
the share of migrants among ‘Upper Middle-Income countries’ shows a marginal
increase with a corresponding decrease in ‘Lower Middle-Income Countries’.
Low Income countries have seen a
decline in the migrant population share over the years.
It is remarkable to note that in 1990,
migrant population was 7.5% of the total population in High-Income countries
which has nearly doubled (14%) in two decades (by mid-2019).
USA has the highest migrant
population followed by Germany and Saudi Arabia
As of Mid-2019, United States of
America has the highest migrant population in the world with 5.07 crores. This accounts
for 15.4% of total population of USA. In 1990, the migrant population of USA
was 2.3 crores which accounted for around 9.2% of the US population.
Germany and Saudi Arabia have the
second highest migrant population in the world with 1.313 crores and 1.312
crores respectively as of mid-2019. They are followed by Russian Federation,
United Kingdom, UAE, France, Canada, Australia and Italy completing the top 10
These top 10 countries constitute
half (50.36%) of the world migrant population.
While India ranks 13th
with 51.54 lakh migrant population, it is negligible in context of overall
population of India where the migrants make up only 0.4% of the total
India is the country of origin for
the highest number of migrants
International Migrant Stock’s By destination and origin report indicates that the highest number
of migrant population has India as their country of origin followed by Mexico,
China and Russian Federation.
A total of 1.75 crore migrants have
their country of origin as India. Mexico, China, Russia have been mentioned as
the country of origin by 1.17 crore, 1.07 crore and 1.04 crore migrants
respectively. Syria is the country of origin for 5th highest
population at 82.25 lakhs.
32.87% of the total migrant
population in the world belong to top 10 countries. Palestine which like Syria
is another country amidst conflict is the origin of 38.9 lakh migrants making
it the 16th in the list of countries.
UAE, USA and Saudi Arabia are
destination countries for highest number of migrant Indians
As far as Indians are concerned, 34.19
lakh Indian migrants have UAE as their country of destination followed by USA
with 26.61 lakhs. Saudi Arabia has the
third highest Indian migrant population with 24.4 lakhs as of mid-2019.
Data from the UN report further
indicates that Pakistan is the country with fourth highest Indian migrant
population with 15.88 lakh. Other Middle Eastern countries like Oman, Kuwait
and Qatar rank 5th, 6th and 9th respectively
in the list of destinations for Indian migrants.
UK, Canada and Australia make the rest
of top 10 countries with the highest Indian migrant population. The Middle Eastern countries of UAE, Saudi
Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar have 51.44% of the total Indian migrant
Influx of Migrants is into countries
with higher incomes & better opportunities
As per the data on international
migration, the trend clearly suggests that people are migrating to the
countries which have a higher income than their own.
At a Global level, USA with its vast
opportunities is the country with the highest number of immigrants from across
the world. USA has migrants from 150 out of 232 countries enumerated in the
Other top 10 destination countries
are also among the highest income countries in the world. Apart from being the
global destinations, there are countries within a region which are proffered
options for migration (like the Middle eastern countries for other Asian
countries especially South Asia).
A trend as highlighted earlier is
that people from least developed countries move to countries which are
comparably better off even though these countries are not themselves developed.
Overall trends suggest influx of
people towards countries with comparably better incomes & opportunities.
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