Top 25 Destination Countries for Global Migrants over Time

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Top 25 Destination Countries for Global Migrants over Time

Use this tool to display the most recent data on the number and share of international migrants (total and by gender) for the top 25 countries. The data go back to 1960 and the tool also includes change over time and percent growth as indicators.

Notes: 

1) Because governments collect statistics on international migrants residing within their countries' boundaries in varying ways, there is no consistent cross-country definition of this population. The UN Population Division provides the mid-year estimate of international migrants based on official statistics on the foreign born, i.e., people born outside of the country of current residence. However, for countries that do not collect data on place of birth but have data on citizenship, the estimated number of noncitizens is used instead. In both cases, migrant stock also includes refugees, some of whom may not be foreign born. Most of the data were obtained from population censuses; population registers and nationally representative surveys were also used for information on the number and composition of international migrants. For more information on the UN Population Division’s methodology to estimate the size of international migrants, click here: http://esa.un.org/unmigration/migrantstocks2013.htm?mdocs.

2) Changes in countries' geographic and political boundaries over time affect the size of the total and international migrant populations as well as countries' rankings in the chart above. For example, part of the increase in the world international migrant stock observed between 1980 and 2000 was due to the break-up of the former Soviet Union into 15 independent countries. Because of the changed political boundaries, about 27 million persons were "added" to the 2000 world total international migrant stock. Thus, a person born in the Soviet Republic of Ukraine but residing in Russia was counted as an "internal migrant" during the Soviet Union time and as an "international migrant" after the Soviet Union's dissolution.

3) Countries with total populations less than 100,000 were excluded.

4) The UN Population Division may base their population estimates on projections from national-level data collected in earlier years.

Source: 

Migration Policy Institute tabulation of data from the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2013). Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2013 revision (United Nations database, POP/DB/MIG/Stock/Rev.2013). Available here: http://esa.un.org/unmigration/migrantstocks2013.htm?mtotals.