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Immigration by Country 2024

Snapshot

  • Immigration involves moving from one's home country to another, with 50.6 million immigrants in the U.S. alone, the highest globally.

  • The proportion of immigrants varies by country, with the U.S., Germany, and Saudi Arabia leading in the number of foreign-born residents.

  • The United Arab Emirates stands out with 89% of its population being immigrants, one of the highest proportions globally.

Immigration is the international movement of people away from the country where they have citizenship (usually their country of birth) in favor of a destination country where they do not have citizenship. Immigrants, often referred to as foreign-born residents, move to a new country for several reasons, including searching for economic prosperity, job opportunities, family reunification, retirement, and better access to resources.

The proportion of immigrants varies considerably from country to country, and for several reasons. Some countries are easy to immigrate to—in fact, some countries will actually encourage immigrants from the United States—while other countries are harder to immigrate to by comparison.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Number of Foreign-Born Residents (Immigrants) - United Nations 2020:

The United States is home to the highest number of immigrants in the world. An estimated 50.6 million people in the United States—a bit more than 15% of the total population of 331.4 million—were born in a foreign country. The number of immigrants in the U.S. has increased by at least 400% since 1965. The population of immigrants in the United States is incredibly diverse, with nearly every country in the world represented among U.S. immigrants. Mexico is the leading origin country for U.S. immigrants, accounting for more than 11 million, roughly 25%, of all immigrants in the United States. Immigration, of course, played a formative role in making the U.S. the country it is today: except for those whose ancestors arrived as slaves, the majority of citizens of the "Great American Melting Pot" are descended from immigrants—and early European settlers in particular.

Perhaps the most unique entry in the top ten is the United Arab Emirates, whose 8.7 million immigrants make up nearly 89% of the country's total population. This gives the UAE one of the world's highest proportions of immigrant residents in relation to the total national population.

What is the difference between immigrants and emigrants?

The difference between the words "immigration/immigrant" and "emigration/emigrant" can be confusing. Technically speaking, the two terms are opposites, but it can be difficult to tell from their definitions. An immigrant is someone who came to the country where they now live from somewhere else. In contrast, an emigrant is someone who left their home country and moved somewhere else. In other words, the person moving is both an immigrant and an emigrant, depending upon whether the person speaking or writing the word lives in the home country or the destination country.

This nuance is often easier to understand with an example: Imagine a person who was born in South Africa, but now lives permanently in the United States. To their new friends in the U.S., that person is an immigrant, because they immigrated to—or came to—the United States. But to their old friends in South Africa, that same person is an emigrant because they emigrated from—or left—South Africa.

When used in the context of national populations, "immigrants" refers to foreign-born residents who have moved to that country and "emigrants" refers to people who have left that country to live somewhere else.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Number of Emigrants (Former Residents living Internationally) - United Nations 2020:

Country
# Emigrants
India17.9M
Mexico11.2M
Russia10.8M
China10.5M
Syria8.5M
Bangladesh7.4M
Pakistan6.3M
Ukraine6.1M
Philippines6.1M
Afghanistan5.9M

India has the largest number of natives living abroad with 17.9 million people in total. Emigrant numbers are not always as accurate as immigrant numbers, mostly because most governments are not as concerned about those who leave the country as they are about those who enter and use government-funded services or infrastructure. There are exceptions to this logic, however, as countries such as North Korea and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan take a keen interest in preventing residents from emigrating.

* Data shown is for 2020.

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Country
# Immigrants
% Population
# Emigrants
Vatican City809100%174
Tokelau1.2K91.23%2.1K
United Arab Emirates8.7M88.13%203.2K
Qatar2.2M77.27%25.7K
British Virgin Islands22.2K73.29%5.4K
Kuwait3.1M72.83%212.3K
Sint Maarten28.8K70.68%2.2K
Liechtenstein25.9K67.87%3.7K
Monaco26.6K67.79%32.6K
Turks and Caicos Islands25.7K66.5%2.7K
Macau403.5K62.14%145.2K
Andorra45.6K58.98%11.1K
Falkland Islands2K56.24%1.5K
Bahrain936.1K55.01%58.3K
United States Virgin Islands56.8K53.39%3.9K
Isle of Man43K50.62%12K
Aruba53.6K50.19%21.5K
Guam80.5K47.68%2.2K
Luxembourg298.1K47.62%81.8K
Oman2.4M46.47%25.1K
Cayman Islands29.2K44.49%1.9K
Singapore2.5M43.14%348.5K
American Samoa23.6K42.77%1.8K
Mayotte111.5K40.88%6.8K
French Guiana119.2K39.93%4.6K
Hong Kong3M39.52%1M
Saudi Arabia13.5M38.65%299.3K
Anguilla5.7K38.09%2.5K
Northern Mariana Islands21.8K37.95%2.7K
Curacao57.2K36.91%7.6K
Niue58835.79%5.2K
Jordan3.5M33.89%814.9K
Gibraltar11.2K33.21%13.4K
Bermuda19.7K30.89%21.1K
Australia7.7M30.14%598.8K
Switzerland2.5M28.79%713.6K
New Zealand1.4M28.65%806.2K
Palau5.1K28.12%2.7K
Montserrat1.4K27.62%24.6K
New Caledonia73.1K26.89%5.8K
Cook Islands4.6K26.07%21.1K
Malta114.8K25.99%102.8K
Lebanon1.7M25.09%856.8K
Israel2M22.57%358.7K
Guadeloupe90.2K22.54%12.5K
Canada8M21.33%1.3M
Nauru2.2K20.33%2.5K
Kazakhstan3.7M19.88%4.2M
Sweden2M19.84%327.6K
Austria1.7M19.3%600.7K
Iceland65.4K19.17%43.3K
Germany15.8M18.81%3.9M
Gabon416.7K18.72%48.4K
Martinique68.6K18.29%13K
Wallis and Futuna2K18.15%11.9K
Ireland871.3K17.64%734.3K
Belgium2M17.3%577.5K
Saint Pierre and Miquelon1K17.22%433
Equatorial Guinea230.6K16.44%128.8K
San Marino5.5K16.34%2.4K
Bahamas63.6K16.17%53.8K
Cyprus190.4K15.77%173.2K
Norway852.2K15.72%191.4K
Belize62K15.6%52.8K
United States50.6M15.28%3M
Estonia199.3K15.02%206.6K
Reunion131.8K14.72%3.1K
Spain6.8M14.63%1.5M
Saint Kitts and Nevis7.7K14.52%50.3K
Faroe Islands6.8K13.94%12.9K
United Kingdom9.4M13.79%4.7M
Netherlands2.4M13.76%970.4K
Slovenia278K13.37%160.2K
Seychelles13.1K13.27%29.3K
France8.5M13.06%2.3M
Maldives70.1K12.96%3.7K
Greece1.3M12.86%1.1M
Croatia528.1K12.86%1M
Latvia239.4K12.69%380K
Denmark717.6K12.39%257K
Barbados34.9K12.13%99.6K
Djibouti119.7K12.12%18.4K
Libya826.5K12.03%185.5K
Dominica8.3K11.51%78.2K
Ukraine5M11.43%6.1M
Montenegro71K11.3%133K
Belarus1.1M11.29%1.5M
Malaysia3.5M10.74%1.9M
French Polynesia30.1K10.71%2.2K
Italy6.4M10.56%3.3M
Greenland5.9K10.39%17.9K
Costa Rica520.7K10.22%150.2K
Portugal1M9.83%2.1M
Ivory Coast2.6M9.72%1.1M
Serbia823K9.42%1M
Puerto Rico247.1K8.64%1.9M
Chile1.6M8.61%643.8K
Suriname47.8K8.15%273.2K
Russia11.6M7.97%10.8M
South Sudan882.3K7.88%2.6M
Panama313.2K7.26%139.5K
Turkey6.1M7.18%3.4M
Republic of the Congo387.6K7.02%223.8K
Finland386.1K6.97%311.9K
Bhutan53.6K6.95%52K
Armenia190.3K6.42%958.2K
Grenada7.2K6.41%62.2K
North Macedonia131.3K6.3%693.9K
Hungary584.6K6.05%714.4K
Trinidad and Tobago78.8K5.63%330.5K
Dominican Republic603.8K5.57%1.6M
Marshall Islands3.3K5.57%10.9K
Palestine272.8K5.35%4M
Lithuania145.2K5.33%658.1K
Thailand3.6M5.2%1.1M
Argentina2.3M5.05%1.1M
Czech Republic540.9K5.05%1M
Syria868.7K4.96%8.5M
South Africa2.9M4.82%914.9K
Botswana110.3K4.69%63.6K
Venezuela1.3M4.66%5.4M
Saint Lucia8.3K4.54%71.2K
Ecuador784.8K4.45%1.1M
Namibia109.4K4.31%47.8K
Rwanda513.9K3.97%492.5K
Guyana31.2K3.96%438.4K
Mauritania182.3K3.92%130.2K
Uganda1.7M3.76%781.4K
Colombia1.9M3.74%3M
Peru1.2M3.71%1.5M
Romania705.3K3.67%4M
Slovakia197.2K3.61%419.7K
Tonga3.7K3.54%74.5K
Uzbekistan1.2M3.47%2M
Burkina Faso724K3.46%1.6M
Togo279.9K3.38%545.4K
South Korea1.7M3.37%2.2M
Iran2.8M3.33%1.3M
Chad547.5K3.33%222.3K
Benin394.3K3.25%681.8K
Turkmenistan194.9K3.23%242.6K
Sudan1.4M3.15%2.1M
Uruguay108.3K3.12%367.1K
Kyrgyzstan199K3.05%774.4K
Burundi344.8K2.9%551.1K
Tajikistan276K2.89%586.9K
Cape Verde15.8K2.84%187.6K
Eswatini32.9K2.83%50K
Zimbabwe416.1K2.8%1.2M
Bulgaria184.4K2.65%1.7M
Kiribati3.1K2.62%5.1K
Moldova104.4K2.59%1.2M
Azerbaijan252.2K2.49%1.2M
Micronesia2.8K2.46%24.9K
Mali485.8K2.4%1.3M
Paraguay169.6K2.38%896.5K
Mauritius28.9K2.27%183K
Japan2.8M2.19%808.8K
Cameroon579.2K2.18%441K
Poland817.3K2.16%4.8M
Samoa4K2.03%135.7K
Tuvalu2392.03%3.7K
Angola656.4K2%668.1K
Georgia79.4K1.99%861.1K
Kenya1.1M1.95%535.3K
Central African Republic88.5K1.83%816.7K
Liberia87.9K1.74%233.6K
Albania48.8K1.7%1.3M
Nepal487.6K1.67%2.6M
Senegal274.9K1.64%693.8K
Fiji14.1K1.57%233.9K
Ghana476.4K1.53%1M
Pakistan3.3M1.48%6.3M
Niger348.1K1.44%399.7K
Comoros12.5K1.44%150.8K
Bolivia164.1K1.41%927.2K
Yemen387.1K1.3%1.3M
Bangladesh2.1M1.28%7.4M
Bosnia and Herzegovina36K1.1%1.7M
Mozambique338.9K1.08%640.2K
DR Congo952.9K1.06%1.8M
Vanuatu3.3K1.06%7.2K
Zambia188K1.02%200.7K
Malawi191.4K1%311.1K
Sao Tome and Principe2.1K0.98%39.6K
Ethiopia1.1M0.94%946.1K
Mexico1.2M0.93%11.2M
Guinea121.4K0.92%550.8K
Iraq365.8K0.91%2.1M
Guinea Bissau17.9K0.91%111.8K
Western Sahara5.4K0.91%194.9K
Jamaica23.6K0.8%1.1M
Tanzania426K0.71%327.9K
Sierra Leone53.7K0.67%152.5K
Laos48.7K0.67%1.3M
El Salvador42.8K0.66%1.6M
Mongolia21.3K0.65%82.1K
Nicaragua42.2K0.64%718.2K
Timor Leste8.4K0.64%39.6K
Nigeria1.3M0.63%1.7M
Algeria250.4K0.57%2M
Lesotho12.1K0.56%202.2K
Egypt543.9K0.53%3.6M
Brazil1.1M0.51%1.9M
Tunisia60.1K0.51%902.3K
Guatemala84.3K0.47%1.4M
Cambodia79.3K0.47%1.1M
Honduras39.2K0.4%985.1K
Eritrea13.9K0.39%802.8K
Afghanistan144.1K0.37%5.9M
Somalia58.6K0.37%2M
Solomon Islands2.5K0.37%4.3K
India4.9M0.35%17.9M
Papua New Guinea31.1K0.35%4.8K
Morocco102.4K0.28%3.3M
Philippines225.5K0.21%6.1M
North Korea49.5K0.19%110.4K
Sri Lanka40.3K0.19%2M
Haiti18.9K0.17%1.8M
Myanmar76.4K0.14%3.7M
Indonesia355.5K0.13%4.6M
Madagascar35.6K0.13%193.5K
Vietnam76.8K0.08%3.4M
China1M0.07%10.5M
Cuba3K0.03%1.8M
showing: 225 rows

What country has the highest immigration rate?

According to the United Nations, in 2020, the United States had 50.6 million immigrants, the highest in the world.

Does the US have the highest immigration rate?

Yes, with 50.6 million immigrants, the US has the highest rate. Germany is second but far lower with 15.8 million.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources