Many factors determine population movements, which can be voluntary or forced, the latter being “as a result of the increased magnitude and frequency of disasters, economic challenges and extreme poverty or conflict”, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The UN partner organization estimates that by mid-2020, there were about 280.6 million international migrants globally, a figure that is growing year by year and represents 3.6 per cent of the world’s population. In 2010 it was 221 million and in 2000 it was 173.2 million.
The United States has been the main destination country for international migrants since 1970. The number of foreign-born people residing in the country was almost 51 million in 2020. At a considerable distance behind is Germany, which received the second largest number of migrants in the world last year, with 15.8 million people, followed by Saudi Arabia (13.5 million), Russia (11.6 million) and the United Kingdom (9.4 million).
In terms of the place of birth of international migrants, 18 million people came from India, the country with the highest number of migrants in the world last year. Mexico was the second largest country of origin with 11.2 million people, followed by the 10.8 million Russians living abroad, along with 105 million Chinese and 8.5 million Syrians.
International Migrants Day is celebrated on 18 December, this year under the theme “Harnessing the potential of human mobility”, which invites people to take advantage of the possibilities that human mobility offers.
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