International Migrant Stock 2019

The Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has released the International Migrant Stock 2019. The report provides estimates of the number of international migrants by age, sex and origin for all countries and areas of the world.

The report is based on the estimates on official national statistics on the foreign-born or the foreign population obtained from population censuses, population registers or nationally representative surveys.

Findings of the Report

Diaspora Numbers
  • India with a 17.5 million strong diaspora was the leading country of origin of international migrants in 2019.
  • Mexico had the the second-largest diaspora (11.8 million), followed by China (10.7 million), Russia (10.5 million), Syria (8.2 million), Bangladesh (7.8 million), Pakistan (6.3 million), Ukraine (5.9 million), the Philippines (5.4 million) and Afghanistan (5.1 million).
  • The top 10 countries of origin accounted for one-third of all international migrants.
Who hosted the Migrants?
  • Europe hosted the largest number of international migrants (82 million) in 2019. Europe was followed by Northern America (59 million) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (49 million).
  • Around 50 per cent of all international migrants resided in just 10 countries.
  • The United States of America hosted the largest number of international migrants (51 million). This was equal to about 19% of the world’s total.
  • Germany and Saudi Arabia hosts the second and third largest numbers of migrants (13 million each), followed by Russia (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).
Region-Wise Break-up
  • The share of international migrants in the total population varied considerably across geographic regions. The highest proportions recorded in Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand) (21.2%) and Northern America (16.0%) and the lowest figures were recorded in Latin America and the Caribbean (1.8%), Central and Southern Asia (1.0%) and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (0.8%).
  • Large chunk of the international migrants in sub-Saharan Africa (89%), Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (83%), Latin America and the Caribbean (73%), and Central and Southern Asia (63%) originated from the region in which they reside whereas most of the international migrants that lived in Northern America (98%), Oceania (88%) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (59%) were born outside their region of residence.
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
  • The global number of refugees and asylum seekers increased by about 13 million between 2010 and 2017.
  • Northern Africa and Western Asia hosted around 46% of the global number of refugees and asylum seekers, followed by sub-Saharan Africa (21%).
Gender Composition
  • Women comprised slightly less than half of all international migrants in 2019.
  • The share of women and girls in the global number of international migrants fell slightly, from 49% in 2000 to 48% in 2019.
  • The share of migrant women was highest in Northern America (52%) and Europe (51%) and was lowest in sub-Saharan Africa (47%) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (36%).
Migrants in India
  • India hosted about 5.1 million international migrants in 2019. This was less than 5.2 million in 2015.
  • International migrants as a share of the total population in India were steady at 0.4% from 2010 to 2019.
  • The highest number of international migrants in India came from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.

The findings of the report are critical for understanding the important role of migrants and migration in the development of both countries of origin and destination.

The findings will also aid international agencies and national governments to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people which will is a necessary component in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.


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