Top 5 Countries with the Most Immigrants

Immigration News

countries with the most immigrantsBetter economic prosperity, religious freedom and social unrest are just a few of the factors that drive immigration. These are major reasons the United States continues to be a popular destination for migrants.

However, you may be surprised by other countries with the most immigrants. According to data provided by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), 244 million people (3.3 percent of the world’s population) lived abroad in 2015. That’s an increase of 71 million since 2000.

Here are the top 5 countries with the most immigrants:

Countries with the Most Immigrants

United Kingdom
countries with the most immigrants united kingdom

8.5 million immigrants
(13.2% of population)

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland saw tremendous growth in its migrant population from 2000 to 2015, nearly doubling from 4.7 million to 8.5 million during the period. The increase coincides with the significant inflow of East European migrants following EU enlargement in 2004. India, Poland, and Pakistan are the top three countries of birth for the foreign-born residents of the UK.

Saudi Arabia
countries with the most immigrants saudi arabia

10.2 million immigrants
(32.3% of population)

In the last decade the number of immigrants in Saudi Arabia has risen more than most nations. That has led to nearly one-third of the country’s population consisting of immigrants. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of foreign-born residents in Saudi Arabia rose a staggering 93%. The United Nations reporting suggests that the Saudi government is putting new restrictions in place to limit immigration.

Russian Federation
countries with the most immigrants russia

11.6 million immigrants
(8.1% of population)

Russia is one of very few countries that actively encourages immigration. Despite that fact, the number of immigrants in Russia has actually decreased in the past few years. Local authorities have not embraced the prospect of single-ethnicity communities for Chinese, Uzbeks, Tajiks and other ethnic groups in Russia, and have even sought to ban them in some cases, hoping instead to promote integration into Russian society.

countries with the most immigrants germany

12.0 million immigrants
(14.9% of population)

By virtue of its robust economy, Germany is one of the most popular destination for immigrants. Factors that have influenced immigration to Germany include: a well-developed infrastructure, an elite education system and a floundering Eurozone. However Germany also recruits highly-skilled workers to live and work in the country permanently.

United States
countries with the most immigrants united states

46.6 million immigrants
(14.5% of population)

The United States is far and away the most popular destination for the world’s immigrants. With more than 46.6 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S., the country has nearly four times as many immigrants as any other nation in the world. The attraction to the United States is largely due to opportunity — economic and social. The U.S. is the world’s largest economy and has one the highest per capita GDPs in the world. The United States also offers well-developed infrastructure, financial markets, a solid education system, and religious freedoms.

Nearly two-thirds of all international migrants live in Europe (76 million) or Asia (75 million). North America hosts the third largest number of international migrants (54 million), followed by Africa (21 million), Latin America and the Caribbean (9 million) and Oceania (8 million).

countries with the most immigrants infographic
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Between 2000 and 2015, Asia added more immigrants than any other major area. Asia gained some 26 million international migrants during this period or 1.7 million additional migrants per annum.

UAE Has the Greatest Percentage of Immigrants

A staggering 88.4% of residents within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are international migrants. With the exception of Vatican City, this is the greatest percentage of any country in the world. Between 2010 and 2015, UAE’s immigrant population has swelled by more than 5.6 million. A large portion of the influx is made up of migrant workers to fuel the UAE building boom. With an economy powered mostly by oil, the country has been financing a tremendous amount of construction. The UAE has been criticized for the poor living and working conditions faced by many migrant workers.

China Has the Lowest Percentage of Immigrants

China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Viet Nam and Cuba are all at the bottom of the list for foreign-born residents. In each of the countries, only 0.1% of the population is made up of immigrants. However, China’s massive population makes it the most pronounced. Although regions such as Hong Kong and Macao (former European territories) have a large foreign-born population, mainland China is incredibly less diverse. Out of a total population of nearly 1.4 billion people in mainland China, only an estimated 978,000 are foreign-born migrants.

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