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Migration to foreign countries surged 41%, U.S. tops list

Staff writer ▼ | January 18, 2016
The number of people who migrated to foreign countries surged by 41% in the last 15 years to reach 244 million in 2015, according to a United Nations study released this week. Of those people, 20 million are refugees.
U.S. immigrants
UN report   In the last 15 years
By far, the United States is the country with the largest portion of the world's migrants: 47 million, or a fifth of the total.

Germany and Russia shared the No. 2 spot with about 12 million each, followed by Saudi Arabia (10 million), Britain (9 million) and the United Arab Emirates (8 million.)

The vast majority of international migrants — two-thirds of the total — are in Europe or Asia. Europe is home to 76 million international migrants, while Asia has 75 million.

While Asia and Europe host the largest portions of international migrants, they also contribute the most. Asia is the biggest regional source of international migrants, with 104 million, or 43%.

Europe contributed 25%, or 62 million. The U.N. report explained that migration occurs mostly between countries located in the same region. Latin America and the Caribbean was the third-largest regional source of international migration, with 37 million, or 15%. Only 2% (4 million) are from North America.

India had the world's biggest diaspora, with 16 million people, followed by Mexico (12 million), Russia (11 million), China (10 million) and Bangladesh (7 million) and Pakistan and Ukraine (6 million each).

They are almost equally divided by gender: 48% are women. Not surprisingly, most are working-age. The median age of migrants in 2015 was 39. A significant portion, 15%, were under 20 years old. But country populations will not get any younger as a result.

The United Nations said migrants can help ease old-age dependency ratios in some countries but will not halt the long-term trend toward population aging. All major areas of the world are still projected to have significantly higher old-age dependency ratios in 2050.


 

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