According to the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of international migrants increased to 281 million in 2020, meaning that 3.6% of the world’s people lived outside their country of birth that year. The increase came despite widespread restrictions on travel and international movement in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are eight key facts about international migrants, based on the latest available data from the United Nations and other sources.
The Pew Research Center conducted this analysis to better understand trends in global migration and remittances, or the money that migrants send back to their countries.
Data on the number of international migrants comes from the United Nations’ 2020 International Migrant Stock dataset. Data on the number of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people and other globally displaced Venezuelans comes from the UN’s World Migration Report 2022. The total population estimates for the countries and territories used to calculate the proportions and percentages for the chart come from the United Nations’ 2022 World Population. probabilities dataset. Interregional migration data for Latin America comes from the International Organization for Migration Regional Office for South America and Central America, North America and the Caribbean.
To examine changes in monthly remittances during the COVID-19 pandemic, this analysis uses global estimates of remittance flows from the World Bank.
The United Nations uses a classification of regions, nations, and territories that refer to people born in Puerto Rico and living in the 50 states or the District of Columbia as international immigrants in the US, even if they are US citizens by birth. For this reason, some of the United Nations’ estimates of the foreign-born population shown here may differ from other estimates published by the US Census Bureau or the Pew Research Center.
Europe and Asia have the largest number of international migrants. An estimated 86.7 million international migrants lived in Europe in 2020, followed by 85.6 million in Asia. According to the IOM, since 2005 there has been a steady increase in the number of international migrants living in these two regions.
in Latin America and the Caribbean fastest growing international migrant population. Since 2005, the region’s international expatriate population has almost doubled.
International migrants make up a larger proportion of Oceania’s population than any other region. In 2020, 21.4% of all residents in Oceania – which includes Australia, New Zealand and various Pacific island nations and territories – were international migrants. The North America region is second only to Oceania, where expatriates account for 15.7% of the population. In Europe, migrants account for 11.6% of the population. In all other world regions, they represent 2.3% or less of the population.
However, using other regional groups, Oceania can be crossed out. For example, in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – more than half (52.7%) of the resident population are international migrants, according to UN data.
The United States has more international migrants than any other country. With nearly 51 million immigrants in 2020, the US leads the world on this scale by a wide margin. Germany has the next largest population with approximately 15.8 million expatriates, followed by Saudi Arabia with 13.5 million. (For the US, the United States counts some people living in the 50 states or the District of Columbia as international immigrants, regardless of whether they were born in Puerto Rico or other US territories; those born in Puerto Rico and other US territories People are US citizens at birth.)
The countries with the most international migrants are generally No The same countries where international migrants constitute the largest part of the population. For example, while the US has more expatriates than any other country, expatriates only make up about 15.1% of the US population – a small share compared to the 24 countries or territories with a total population of at least 1 million.
The majority of the top 10 countries in terms of expatriate share of population are from the Middle East. In 2020, 93.9% of all people living in the UAE were international expatriates, followed by 80.6% in Qatar and 71.3% in Kuwait. Other Middle Eastern countries in the top 10 include Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon.
India remains the top country of origin for the world’s migrants. India has been a major source of international migrants for more than a century. In 2020, 17.9 million international migrants traced their origin to India, followed by Mexico at around 11.2 million and Russia at around 10.8 million.
India’s diaspora is spread across the world, but the countries with the largest Indian expatriate populations are the United Arab Emirates (3.5 million), the US (2.7 million) and Saudi Arabia (2.5 million).
Although India is the largest source of international migrants, its 17.9 million migrants in 2020 accounted for only 1.3% of all people born in India that year. By comparison, the United Kingdom’s 4.7 million international migrants accounted for 7.6% of those born in the UK as of 2020. Mexico’s 11.2 million international immigrants accounted for 8.2% of those born in Mexico.
Remittances – money that migrants send to their home countries – fell by about $11 billion from 2019 to 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit. Global remittances had been growing steadily since 2010, but fell from $722 billion in 2019 to $711 billion in 2020. in the first half of 2020 – especially in April, when much of the US was shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak – before rebounding.
According to the World Bank, remittances reached $781 billion in 2021 and are projected to reach $794 billion in 2022, both record highs.
India has been the world’s top recipient of remittances since 2010. Remittances to India to grow from $53 billion in 2010 to $89 billion in 2021.
america is on top Send Countries for remittances since 1990, the earliest year with data available. In 2021, international immigrants living in the US will send $73 billion in remittances globally.
The number of displaced people in the world rose to a new high of 89.4 million in 2020. Displaced people are people who have been forced to leave their homes due to conflict, violence or disasters. These include refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people within their country of birth. Overall, according to the UN’s World Migration Report 2022, the number of displaced persons increased from 84.8 million in 2019 to 89.4 million in 2020. Overall, displaced people make up about 1.1% of the world’s population.
Of the world’s displaced people, about 34%, or 30.5 million, were living outside their country of birth in 2020 as refugees (26.4 million) or asylum seekers (4.1 million). An additional 3.9 million displaced Venezuelans who have not applied for refugee or asylum status lived outside Venezuela in 2020. Most of the displaced people, 55 million, were internally displaced in their countries of origin due to conflict, violence or disasters.
The share of international migrants who are men has ticked up in recent decades. In 2000, 50.6% of international migrants were male and 49.4% were female. According to United Nations estimates, as of 2020, 51.9% of global migrants were male, while 48.1% were female.
In 2020 most of the world’s international migrants lived within their region of origin. While some migrants may move to new regions of the world, most (54.9%) lived within their region of origin in 2020. However, international migration still varies widely within regions. For example, 69.9% of international migrants to Europe lived in another European country in 2020, reflecting migration from Eastern European countries to Western European countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Romania.
International migrants in Asia and Oceania are 59.6% and 56.2% more likely to stay in their region of origin, respectively. Migrants from Africa are just as likely to live within Africa as outside the continent (51.6% versus 48.4%).
Migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the North America region, are the least likely to remain in their region of origin, at 26.3% and 25.2%, respectively.
Note: Here is a list of countries and territories grouped by region by the United Nations.
Mohammed Muslim The Pew Research Center has a research assistant focusing on race and ethnicity.
Mark Hugo Lopez Director of Race and Ethnicity Research at the Pew Research Center.