Europe hosts the largest number of international migrants, with 82 million, followed by North America (59 million) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (49 million).
One-third of all international migrants come from only ten countries and often move between countries within their same region.
India is the leading country of origin, with 18 million Indians living abroad, followed by Mexico (12 million), China (11 million), the Russian Federation (10 million) and the Syrian Arab Republic (8 million).
17 September 2019: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) released updated statistics on international migrants, which now make up 3.5% of the global population, compared to 2.8% in 2000.
The UN dataset, ‘International Migrant Stock 2019,’ finds international migrants have increased from 51 million since 2010 to 272 million in 2019. This figure means that the share of international migrants in the global population has grown faster than the world’s population. The dataset provides estimates of the number of migrants by origin, sex and age for all countries and regions of the world. The UN DESA’s Population Division bases the estimates on official national statistics on foreign-born or foreign population from nationally representative surveys, population censuses and population registers.
The share of international migrants in the global population has grown faster than the world’s population.
Three out of four international migrants are between 20 and 64 years old; in other words, 202 million migrants are of “working age”. One out of seven international migrants, equivalent to 38 million people, is under 20 years old. Women and girls will comprise 48% of international migrants in 2019, a slight decrease from 49% in 2010.
Globally, the number of refugees and asylum seekers increased by 13 million between 2010 and 2017, a figure that accounts for nearly 25% of the increase in the number of all international migrants. Northern Africa and Western Asia host approximately 46% of these refugees and asylum seekers, followed by sub-Saharan Africa, which hosts approximately 21%.
UN DESA stressed that, beyond these numbers, migration “has major impacts on both the people and the places involved. When migration is supported by appropriate policies, it can support inclusive and sustainable development in both destination and origin countries and benefit migrants and their families. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration recognize these linkages between migration and development. Both the 2030 Agenda and the Global Compact state the importance of accurate, disaggregated migration data for evidence-based policies and to monitor progress. This dataset contributes to the data necessary to assess current and future trends and inform policy priorities and decision-making.
Europe hosts the largest number of international migrants, with 82 million. North America hosts 59 million and Northern Africa and Western Asia host 49 million. At a country level, two-thirds of all international migrants live in just 20 countries. The US hosts 51 million migrants, 19 percent of the global total. Half of all migrants live in 10 countries, including Germany (13 million), Saudi Arabia (13 million), the Russian Federation (12 million), the UK (10 million), the United Arab Emirates (9 million), France (8 million), Canada (8 million), Australia (8 million), and Italy (6 million).
Most international migrants move between countries within their same region. For instance, 89% of international migrants in sub-Saharan Africa still reside in the African region. Similarly, 83% of migrants in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, 73% of migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 63% of migrants in Central and Southern Asia move between countries in the same region. In contrast, international migrants in North America (98%), Oceania (88%) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (59%) were not born in their region of residence.
One-third of all international migrants come from only ten countries. India is the leading country of origin, with 18 million Indians living abroad. The next largest populations living abroad come from Mexico (12 million), China (11 million), the Russian Federation (10 million) and the Syrian Arab Republic (8 million).
UN Under-Secretary-General for DESA, Liu Zhenmin, underscored the importance of this data for understanding the role of migration and migrants in countries of origin and destination. He said, “facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people will contribute much to achieving the SDGs.”
In addition to the dataset, UN DESA released related publications based on the new estimates, including a policy brief with key facts on trends in international migration and country profiles. [Migration Index] [UN Press Release] [UN Press Release in Advance of Data Release] [Top Ten Findings]