Last year, about 272 million people around the globe migrated to a new country, according to the International Organization for Migration. While that may sound like a lot, it’s only about 3.5% of the world’s population.
People migrate for a variety of reasons, economic, geographic, social. Immigrants often supply necessary labor in developed countries, or offer “brain gain” -- educated, highly trained workers needed in specialized industries. In the U.S., immigrants start new, often innovative businesses that create jobs, they spend their money on local goods and services, pay taxes and are good for the economy, according to the ACLU.
Migration forms distinct patterns of movement, shaped by economics, geography and other factors, according to the IOM’s World Migration Report 2020.
People in developing countries often move along immigration corridors to larger economies like the U.S., France, Russia, or Saudi Arabia. Many immigrants to the United Arab Emirates, the country with the highest percentage of immigrants, are laborers from Egypt.
Which other countries have the most immigrants, and where do they come from? This list from the World Economic Forum is based on 2019 data from the United Nations.
While the U.S. has the highest number of immigrants at 48 million in 2015, in proportion to population size, six other countries have significantly more.
These are the countries with the most immigrants, based on proportion, followed by the sending countries that supply the most migrants.