Global Migration Trends: Fall 2011 by Justin L. on JULY 27, 2011 – in ANALYSIS – We’ve written quite a bit recently about migration trends, and now would be a good time to step back and take a global and region-by-region look at the force of immigration. The UN releases regular information on migrants both on CDROM, in publications, and in its web-based databases. This gives us quite a bit of insight into the movements of migrants over time.Global and Regional Numbers
a) Globally: From 155 million in 1990, the number of migrants has steadily increased to 213 million today. Over this 20 year period, the number of refugees has actually declined: from 18.4 million in 1990 (over 10%) to an estimated 16.3 million now. Women make up about half of the total: typically about half, from 76.3 million in 1990 to 104.7 million today. The speed at which the migratory population is growing is increasing: the number of migrants grew at 1.3% p.a. in 1990, and it is growing at 1.8% today.
b) Regional Totals (includes from countries outside region into region as well as between countries within the region; e.g. Guinea-Bissau to Nigeria would be in Africa as well as UK to Nigeria):
Africa. From 15.9 million in 1990, rose to 19.2 million today. Refugees: from 5.3 million in 1990, fell to 2.5 million today. (Likely in 2011 this refugee number will spike temporarily.) Women: from 7.3 million in 1990, rose to 9.0 million today (women make up a smaller percentage of migrants in Africa.) The rate of change has slowed from 2.3% in 1990 to 0.8% in 2000, but rose again to 1.7% today. Nearly two-thirds of this migration is internal to Africa (Africans moving from one country to another), and much of that is either work-related or refugee movements. A very small portion of migrants head to other regions: and of those, about two-thirds head to Europe, a third to Asia, with a small minority going to the Americas. Migration is highest in the northern regions of Africa.
Asia. From 50.8 million in 1990, rose to 61.3 million today. Refugees: from 9.9 million in 1990 to 10.8 million today. Women: from 23 million in 1990 to 27.3 million today. The rate of change has risen dramatically from –0.8% in 1990 to 2.1% today. About half of Asia’s migration is internal: but this can involve movements as far as from the Philippines and Korea to the Emirates and Iraq. The remaining half goes largely to Europe, about half as much to North America, and a small but increasing amount to Africa and Latin America. The motivations and abilities of these migrants varies vastly: some are political refugees, others are low-wage workers, and still others students or the supremely rich.
Europe. From 49.4 million in 1990 to 69.8 million today. Refugees: from 1.3 million in 1990 to 1.5 million today, a very small change despite the headlines. Most refugees come in lots of a few dozen or a few thousand, not in the hundreds of thousands that would be required to make a significant difference. Women: from 26 million in 1990 to 36.5 million today. The rate of change has slowed from 2% p.a. in 1990 to 1.6% today. About three-quarters of this migration is internal to Europe, and the balance is split between North America and Asia. Very small amounts head to Latin America and Africa.
Latin America. From 7.1 million in 1990 to 7.4 million today. Refugees: from 1.1 million in 1990, the number fell to half a million today. Women: from 3.5 million in 1990 to 3.7 million today. The rate of change has risen from –2.7% in 1990 to 1.7% today. Although there is a significant amount of traffic moving from Latin America to North America, there is also a substantial minority of migration internal to Latin America as people from less-developed nations within the region jostle into more-developed areas.
North America. From 27.7 million in 1990 to 50 million today. Refugees: from half a million in 1990 to 700,000 today, a surprisingly small change. Women: from 14.1 million in 1990 to 25 million today, hovering steady at 50%. Rate of change has slowed: from 3.8% in 1990 to 1.9% today. There is really very little emigration from North America to other regions, and only a little internal migration. North Americans, by and large, tend to stay put.
Oceania. From 4.3 million in 1990 to 6 million today. Refugees: from 0.1 million in 1990, fell to 59,000 today. Women: from 2.1 million in 1990 to 3 million today. Rate of change: remained pretty much the same, from 1.6% in 1990 to 1.7% today.c) Top Countries:
Top five countries with the most immigrants, 2010: USA 42.8 million, Russia 12.3 million, Germany 10.8 million, Saudi Arabia 7.3 million, Canada 7.2 million.Top five countries with highest percentage of migrants: Qatar 87%; UAE 70%; Kuwait 69%; Jordan 46%; Palestine 44%.Region with the highest immigration % Female: Europe. Region with the lowest immigration % female: Asia.Most dramatic changes over the past twenty years: in 1990, India and Pakistan were both in the top five list. By 2005, they had fallen to positions 8 and 12, respectively.d) Summary Findings:
The number of migrants is growing and will continue to grow.The number of refugees is declining, with occasional spikes.Women make up about half of all migrants globally, but this number varies widely by region.The rate of migration to countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America is increasing.The rate of migration to Europe and North America is slowing.Ministry to migrants means, in most cases, reaching people who are the cream of the crop from their home nations—those with the most intellectual financial resources, or the determination and resourcefulness to get to another country. In this globally connected age many will have continued connections back home.
1. Of those who move, 60% move to a developed nation, and 40% to a developing nation.
2. However: most of those who move to a developed country, come from a developed country.