More than 230 million migrants living worldwide

The number of international migrants worldwide has reached 232 million, up from 175 million in 2000 and 154 million in 1990, according to newly released United Nations figures.

Global Paths and Immigration


“More people than ever are living abroad,” said John Wilmoth, Director, Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), as he provided a new set of data on persons living outside their country of birth.

According to the UN figures, Europe and Asia currently host the largest number of international migrants – 72 million in Europe and 71 million in Asia, together accounting for nearly two thirds of all migrants worldwide. The migrant population was highly concentrated in ten nations, with the United States topping the list with 46 million, followed by the Russian Federation at 11 million, Germany at 10 million and Saudi Arabia at 9 million.

While migration between countries in the South was most common around 1990, since 2000, migration from South to North has become as common as South-to-South flows, with the former category totalling 82.3 million people in 2013 versus 81.9 million for the latter group. The world’s largest corridor of international movements was between the United States and Mexico, with the US home to approximately 13 million Mexicans.

The number of international migrants worldwide currently accounts for 3 per cent of the total population, while around three quarters of the total migrant population is of working age (between 20 and 64) – significantly higher than 58 per cent for the general population.