International migrant stock (% of population) - Country Ranking

Definition: International migrant stock is the number of people born in a country other than that in which they live. It also includes refugees. The data used to estimate the international migrant stock at a particular time are obtained mainly from population censuses. The estimates are derived from the data on foreign-born population--people who have residence in one country but were born in another country. When data on the foreign-born population are not available, data on foreign population--that is, people who are citizens of a country other than the country in which they reside--are used as estimates. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 people living in one of the newly independent countries who were born in another were classified as international migrants. Estimates of migrant stock in the newly independent states from 1990 on are based on the 1989 census of the Soviet Union. For countries with information on the international migrant stock for at least two points in time, interpolation or extrapolation was used to estimate the international migrant stock on July 1 of the reference years. For countries with only one observation, estimates for the reference years were derived using rates of change in the migrant stock in the years preceding or following the single observation available. A model was used to estimate migrants for countries that had no data.

Source: United Nations Population Division, Trends in Total Migrant Stock: 2008 Revision.

See also: Thematic map, Time series comparison

Find indicator:
Rank Country Value Year
1 United Arab Emirates 88.40 2015
2 Qatar 75.50 2015
3 Kuwait 73.64 2015
4 Liechtenstein 62.60 2015
5 Andorra 59.71 2015
6 Macao SAR, China 58.32 2015
7 Monaco 55.77 2015
8 Bahrain 51.13 2015
9 Singapore 45.39 2015
10 Luxembourg 43.96 2015
11 Oman 41.09 2015
12 Jordan 40.98 2015
13 Cayman Islands 39.57 2015
14 Hong Kong SAR, China 38.95 2015
15 Lebanon 34.15 2015
16 Saudi Arabia 32.29 2015
17 Nauru 31.09 2015
18 Antigua and Barbuda 30.59 2015
19 Switzerland 29.39 2015
20 Australia 28.22 2015
21 Palau 26.60 2015
22 Israel 24.95 2015
23 New Caledonia 24.43 2015
24 Brunei 24.28 2015
25 New Zealand 22.96 2015
26 Canada 21.80 2015
27 Kazakhstan 20.12 2015
28 Austria 17.47 2015
29 Cyprus 16.83 2015
30 Sweden 16.77 2015
31 Ireland 15.92 2015
32 Gabon 15.56 2015
33 Estonia 15.42 2015
34 The Bahamas 15.28 2015
35 Belize 14.99 2015
36 Germany 14.88 2015
37 San Marino 14.84 2015
38 United States 14.49 2015
39 Norway 14.24 2015
40 Croatia 13.60 2015
41 St. Kitts and Nevis 13.39 2015
42 Latvia 13.35 2015
43 Seychelles 13.26 2015
44 United Kingdom 13.20 2015
45 Montenegro 13.19 2015
46 Spain 12.69 2015
47 Djibouti 12.65 2015
48 Belgium 12.28 2015
49 Libya 12.28 2015
50 Barbados 12.13 2015
51 France 12.09 2015
52 Netherlands 11.70 2015
53 Slovenia 11.41 2015
54 Belarus 11.40 2015
55 Iceland 11.39 2015
56 Greece 11.34 2015
57 Ukraine 10.79 2015
58 Greenland 10.69 2015
59 Denmark 10.10 2015
60 Malta 9.90 2015
61 Italy 9.68 2015
62 The Gambia 9.67 2015
63 Côte d'Ivoire 9.58 2015
64 Dominica 9.25 2015
65 Serbia 9.12 2015
66 Costa Rica 8.77 2015
67 Suriname 8.63 2015
68 Congo 8.51 2015
69 Malaysia 8.29 2015
70 Russia 8.12 2015
71 Portugal 8.09 2015
72 Puerto Rico 7.47 2015
73 Botswana 7.10 2015
74 St. Lucia 6.90 2015
75 Grenada 6.61 2015
76 Bhutan 6.60 2015
77 Armenia 6.34 2015
78 Macedonia 6.29 2015
79 South Africa 5.77 2015
80 Thailand 5.76 2015
81 Finland 5.74 2015
82 Tonga 5.40 2015
83 Argentina 4.81 2015
84 Syrian Arab Republic 4.73 2015
85 Lithuania 4.73 2015
86 Panama 4.70 2015
87 Hungary 4.56 2015
88 Venezuela 4.51 2015
89 Georgia 4.22 2015
90 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 4.18 2015
91 Dominican Republic 3.95 2015
92 Uzbekistan 3.92 2015
93 Burkina Faso 3.89 2015
94 Czech Republic 3.84 2015
95 Namibia 3.82 2015
96 Rwanda 3.80 2015
97 Togo 3.79 2015
98 Turkey 3.77 2015
99 Chad 3.68 2015
100 Trinidad and Tobago 3.67 2015
101 Turkmenistan 3.65 2015
102 Moldova 3.51 2015
103 Iran 3.45 2015
104 Kyrgyz Republic 3.44 2015
105 Mauritania 3.40 2015
106 Slovak Republic 3.27 2015
107 Tajikistan 3.24 2015
108 Cabo Verde 2.87 2015
109 Kiribati 2.80 2015
110 Azerbaijan 2.71 2015
111 Korea 2.64 2015
112 Chile 2.62 2015
113 Burundi 2.57 2015
114 Zimbabwe 2.56 2015
115 Samoa 2.55 2015
116 Liberia 2.53 2015
117 Swaziland 2.45 2015
118 Ecuador 2.40 2015
119 Paraguay 2.36 2015
120 Kenya 2.35 2015
121 Benin 2.26 2015
122 Mauritius 2.25 2015
123 Uruguay 2.09 2015
124 Mali 2.06 2015
125 Guyana 2.01 2015
126 Albania 1.99 2015
127 Pakistan 1.92 2015
128 Uganda 1.92 2015
129 Nepal 1.82 2015
130 Guinea 1.81 2015
131 Senegal 1.74 2015
132 Central African Republic 1.67 2015
133 Cameroon 1.64 2015
134 Japan 1.61 2015
135 Poland 1.60 2015
136 Comoros 1.59 2015
137 Fiji 1.54 2015
138 Ghana 1.46 2015
139 Bulgaria 1.43 2015
140 Tuvalu 1.42 2015
141 Sierra Leone 1.41 2015
142 Bolivia 1.33 2015
143 Yemen 1.28 2015
144 Equatorial Guinea 1.28 2015
145 São Tomé and Principe 1.26 2015
146 Sudan 1.25 2015
147 Malawi 1.25 2015
148 Guinea-Bissau 1.21 2015
149 Vanuatu 1.20 2015
150 Afghanistan 1.18 2015
151 Romania 1.16 2015
152 Ethiopia 1.08 2015
153 Iraq 0.97 2015
154 Niger 0.95 2015
155 Mexico 0.94 2015
156 Timor-Leste 0.91 2015
157 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.91 2015
158 Bangladesh 0.88 2015
159 Jamaica 0.83 2015
160 Mozambique 0.80 2015
161 Zambia 0.79 2015
162 Dem. Rep. Congo 0.71 2015
163 El Salvador 0.69 2015
164 Nicaragua 0.66 2015
165 Nigeria 0.66 2015
166 Algeria 0.61 2015
167 Mongolia 0.60 2015
168 Egypt 0.54 2015
169 Tunisia 0.50 2015
170 Tanzania 0.49 2015
171 Cambodia 0.47 2015
172 Guatemala 0.47 2015
173 Solomon Islands 0.44 2015
174 Angola 0.43 2015
175 India 0.40 2015
176 Haiti 0.37 2015
177 Honduras 0.35 2015
178 Brazil 0.34 2015
179 Papua New Guinea 0.34 2015
180 Eritrea 0.33 2010
181 Lao PDR 0.33 2015
182 Lesotho 0.31 2015
183 Peru 0.29 2015
184 Colombia 0.28 2015
185 Morocco 0.26 2015
186 Somalia 0.23 2015
187 Philippines 0.21 2015
188 Dem. People's Rep. Korea 0.19 2015
189 Sri Lanka 0.19 2015
190 Myanmar 0.14 2015
191 Madagascar 0.13 2015
192 Indonesia 0.13 2015
193 Cuba 0.12 2015
194 Vietnam 0.08 2015
195 China 0.07 2015

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Development Relevance: Movement of people, most often through migration, is a significant part of global integration. Migrants contribute to the economies of both their host country and their country of origin. Yet reliable statistics on migration are difficult to collect and are often incomplete, making international comparisons a challenge. Global migration patterns have become increasingly complex in modern times, involving not just refugees, but also millions of economic migrants. In most developed countries, refugees are admitted for resettlement and are routinely included in population counts by censuses or population registers. But refugees and migrants, even if they often travel in the same way, are fundamentally different, and for that reason are treated very differently under modern international law. Migrants, especially economic migrants, choose to move in order to improve the future prospects of themselves and their families. Refugees have to move if they are to save their lives or preserve their freedom.

Limitations and Exceptions: In deriving the estimates, an international migrant was equated to a person living in a country other than that in which he or she was born. That is, the number of international migrants, also called the international migrant stock, would represent the number of foreign-born persons enumerated in the countries or areas constituting the world. However, because several countries lack data on the foreign-born, data on the number of foreigners, if available, were used instead as the basis of estimation. Consequently, the overall number of migrants in world regions or at the global level do not quite represent the overall number of foreign-born persons. The disintegration and reunification of countries causes discontinuities in the change of the international migrant stock. Because an international migrant is equated with a person who was born outside the country in which he or she resides, when a country disintegrates, persons who had been internal migrants because they had moved from one part of the country to another may become, overnight, international migrants without having moved at that time. Such changes introduce artificial but unavoidable discontinuities in the trend of the international migrant stock. The reunification of States also introduces discontinuities, but in the opposite direction.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: The basic data to estimate the international migrant stock were obtained mostly from population censuses held during the decennial rounds of censuses. Some of the data used were obtained from population registers and nationally representative surveys. In the majority of cases, the sources available had gathered information on the place of birth of the enumerated population, thus allowing for the identification of the foreign-born population. In estimating the international migrant stock, international migrants have been equated with the foreign-born whenever possible. In most countries lacking data on place of birth, information on the country of citizenship of those enumerated was available and was used as the basis for the identification of international migrants, thus effectively equating international migrants with foreign citizens. Among the 230 countries or areas that constituted the world in 2008, 91 percent had at least one data source on the international migrant stock, and of those 78 percent used the number of foreign-born persons as the basis for estimation. For about 18 percent of the countries, the number of international migrants was based on data regarding foreign citizens. There were nine countries with no information including China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Eritrea and Somalia. For countries having information on the international migrant stock for at least two points in time, interpolation or extrapolation using an exponential growth rate was used to estimate the international migrant stock on 1 July of the reference years. In some instances, the estimates were adjusted on the basis of other relevant information, including the size of the total population in the country, to ensure that the proportion of migrants in small populations did not increase to unacceptable levels. For all other countries with only one data source, estimates for the reference years were derived by assuming growth rates of the migrant stock in the years preceding or following the only data source available. For the nine countries or areas for which no information was available on the international migrant stock, a model, based on the general observation that the proportion of international migrants tends to be inversely related to the size of the total population, was used. After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 people living in one of the newly independent countries who were born in another were classified as international migrants. Estimates of migrant stock in the newly independent states from 1990 on are based on the 1989 census of the Soviet Union.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual