Migration has major impacts on both the people and the places involved in it. When supported by appropriate policies, migration can contribute to inclusive and sustainable development in both origin and destination countries, while also benefitting migrants and their families.
Reliable data on migrants and migration are crucial for assessing current and future trends, identifying policy priorities, and making informed decisions. Reliable data on migration can help ensure that discussions on migration, at both national and international levels, are based on facts, not myths or misperceptions.
The International Migration 2019 report by UN DESA’s Population Division examines the latest migration levels and trends by geographic, development and income grouping, based on the 2019 revision of the International Migrant Stock, which found that the number of international migrants globally reached an estimated 272 million in 2019. That represents an increase of 51 million since 2010. Currently, international migrants comprise 3.5 per cent of the global population, compared to 2.8 per cent in the year 2000.
In 2019, regionally, Europe hosts the largest number of international migrants (82 million), followed by Northern America (59 million) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (49 million).
At the country level, about half of all international migrants reside in just 10 countries, with the United States of America hosting the largest number (51 million), equal to about 19 per cent of the world’s total. Germany and Saudi Arabia host the second and third largest numbers of migrants (13 million each), followed by the Russian Federation (12 million), the United Kingdom (10 million), the United Arab Emirates (9 million), France, Canada and Australia (around 8 million each) and Italy (6 million).
Concerning their place of birth, one-third of all international migrants originate from only ten countries, with India as the lead country of origin, accounting for about 18 million persons living abroad. Migrants from Mexico constituted the second largest “diaspora” (12 million), followed by China (11 million), the Russian Federation (10 million) and the Syrian Arab Republic (8 million).
The International Migration 2019 report examines the contribution of migration to total population change and its effect on the population age structure, based on the 2019 revision of the World Population Prospects.
It also provides an overview of views and policies of Governments on levels of immigration and emigration, on migrant integration, and on diaspora investments, using data from the 2019 revision of the World Population Policies Database.
The report also examines progress on the countries’ commitment under the Sustainable Development Goal 10 (SDG 10) to introduce “migration policies to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people.”
Lastly, the report studies the international normative framework related to international migration, focusing on legal instruments designed to protect the rights of migrant workers and of refugees, and to combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking. It also provides an overview of the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees by UN Member States.
Photo: Amanda Nero/IOM