The Top Ten Immigrant Countries

One of the most visible and influential consequences of globalization is the record number of migrants in the world: as of 2013, over 232 million people –b or 3.2 percent of the world’s population — were living outside of their country of origin. So what are the top destinations for the world’s transients?

The following video by The Daily Conversation, via the Washington Post, offers a brief overview of the world’s top ten recipients of immigrants, including each nation’s largest immigrant groups and the dynamics behind them.

Given the brevity of the video, it could only go into so much detail regarding the complex factors behind why certain groups go to certain countries.

For example, it leaves out the fact that Canada and Australia have particularly friendly policies towards migrants, with the latter country’s warm climate being a major draw to its over 1 million British-born inhabitants Germany’s large Russian-born population is made up mostly of Russians of German descent, who have taken advantage of the country’s preferential treatment of ethnic German immigrants.

I should also point out the common error of showing Puerto Ricans as a major immigrant group in the U.S.: as American citizens, they are not foreign migrants and thus should not even factor into the equation (though many international institutions and analysts treat Puerto Rico as a separate country in their methodologies).

Anyway, here is the list (Note both the absolute number of immigrants and their proportion of the population):

10. Spain 6.5 million immigrants (13.8% of pop)
9. Australia 6.5 million immigrants (27.7%)
8. Canada 7.3 million immigrants (20.7%)
7. France 7.4 million immigrants (11.6%)
6. United Kingdom 7.8 million immigrants (12.4%)
5. United Arab Emirates 7.8 million immigrants (83.7%)
4. Saudi Arabia 9.1 million immigrants (31.4%)
3. Germany 9.8 million immigrants (11.9%)
2. Russia 11 million immigrants (7.7%)
1. USA 45.7 million immigrants (14.3%)

Wikipedia offers a comprehensive list of countries by immigrant population, which cites U.N. data on migratory trends. Its chart also records the percentage of the world’s immigrants living in a given country; as noted in the video, of the total number of people living outside their country of origin, nearly 20 percent are living in the U.S., and this if followed by almost five percent in Russia and 4.3 percent in Germany.

If you are curious, the runners up after spain include Italy (5.7 million immigrants), India (5.3 million), Ukraine (5.1 million), Pakistan (4 million), and Thailand (3.7 million).

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