Number of migrants now growing faster than world population, new UN figures show

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The growing number of international migrants has now reached 272 million, outpacing the growth rate of the world’s population, according to new data from the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

The figures reflect a jump from 2010, when the global number was at 221 million, and currently international migrants – defined as anyone who changes their “country of usual residence” – make up 3.5 per cent of the global population, compared to 2.8 per cent in the year 2000, according to the latest figures.

Estimates are based on official national statistics of foreign populations gathered from censuses. These numbers reflect any person who is moving or has moved across an international border, regardless of citizenship status or motive – meaning the data encompass people who have moved either intentionally or involuntarily.

DESA’s full 2019 migration data set, available here.

 

Europe hosts the largest number of international migrants, at 82 million; followed by North America, at 59 million; with 51 million in the United States alone – the largest number in a single nation. Finally, North Africa and Western Asia host around 49 million migrants, and along with sub-Saharan Africa, are seeing the most significant influx in foreign populations.

The share of international migrants in the total population varies considerably across regions, the report shows, where foreign-born individuals comprise 21 per cent of the population of the Oceana region (Australia and New Zealand included), and 16 per cent of all people in Northern America.

With forced displacements continuing to increase, refugees and asylum seekers account for close to a quarter of global increases, which have risen by 13 million in number from 2010 to 2017.

Although migration is global, most journeys are taking place within a limited set of countries, with the US, Germany, and Saudi Arabia making up the top three.

Venezuelans cross to Colombia by a river due to closure of border crossings
Venezuelan citizens cross a river into Colombia due to the closure of border crossings in Cucuta, Colombia, 06 March 2019. EPA-EFE/SCHNEYDER MENDOZA
%d bloggers like this: