World Migration Report 2020
2019 :: 496 pages
ISSN: 1561-5502 E-ISBN: 978-92-9068-789-4
Since 2000, IOM has been producing world migration reports. The World Migration Report 2020, the tenth in the world migration report series, has been produced to contribute to increased understanding of migration throughout the world. This new edition presents key data and information on migration as well as thematic chapters on highly topical migration issues, and is structured to focus on two key contributions for readers: Part I: key information on migration and migrants (including migration-related statistics); and Part II: balanced, evidence-based analysis of complex and emerging migration issues.
This flagship World Migration Report has been produced in line with IOM’s Environment Policy and is available online only. Printed hard copies have not been made in order to reduce paper, printing and transportation impacts.
Highlights from Part I: Data and information on migration and migrants
The number of international migrants globally in 2019: 272 million (3.5% of the world’s population)
• 52 per cent of international migrants were male; 48 per cent were female.
• 74 per cent of all international migrants were of working age (20–64 years).
India continued to be the largest country of origin of international migrants
• India had the largest number of migrants living abroad (17.5 million), followed by Mexico and
China (11.8 million and 10.7 million respectively).
• The top destination country remained the United States (50.7 million international migrants).
The number of migrant workers declined slightly in high income countries while increasing elsewhere
• Between 2013 and 2017, high-income countries experienced a slight drop in migrant workers
(from 112.3 million to 111.2 million). Upper middle-income countries observed the biggest
increase (from 17.5 million to 30.5 million).
• Globally, male migrant workers outnumbered female migrant workers by 28 million in 2017.
There were 96 million male migrant workers (58%) and 68 million female migrant workers (42%).
International remittances increased to USD 689 billion in 2018
• The top 3 remittance recipients were India (USD 78.6 billion), China (USD 67.4 billion) and
Mexico (USD 35.7 billion).
• The United States remained the top remittance-sending country (USD 68.0 billion) followed by
the United Arab Emirates (USD 44.4 billion) and Saudi Arabia (USD 36.1 billion).
The global refugee population was 25.9 million in 2018
• 20.4 million refugees were under the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR) and 5.5 million were refugees under the mandate of the United Nations
Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Near East.
• 52 per cent of the global refugee population was under 18 years of age.
The number of internally displaced persons due to violence and conflict reached 41.3 million
• This was the highest number on record since the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
began monitoring in 1998.
• The Syrian Arab Republic had the highest number of people displaced (6.1 million) followed by
Colombia (5.8 million) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (3.1 million).
The number of stateless persons globally in 2018 was 3.9 million
• Bangladesh had the largest number of stateless persons (around 906,000). It was followed by
Côte d’Ivoire (692,000) and Myanmar (620,000).
Migration patterns vary from region to region
• While most international migrants born in Africa, Asia and Europe reside within their regions
of birth, the majority of migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean and Northern America
reside outside their regions of birth. In Oceania, the number of intraregional migrants and those
residing outside the region remained about the same in 2019.
• More than half of all international migrants (141 million) lived in Europe and Northern America.
Migration has been a key determinant of population change in several countries
• Intraregional migration has been an important contributor to population change in some African
countries such as Equatorial Guinea.
• Labour migration has contributed to significant population changes especially in Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC) States. With the exceptions of Oman and Saudi Arabia, migrants made up the
majority of the populations in GCC countries.
Displacement remained a major feature in some regions
• The Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey were the origin and host of the largest number of
refugees globally, 6.7 million and 3.7 million, respectively. Canada became the largest refugee
resettlement country, resettling more refugees than the United States in 2018.
• The Philippines had the largest number of new disaster displacements in 2018 (3.8 million).
• Around 4 million Venezuelans had left their country by mid-2019. The Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela was the largest source country of asylum seekers in 2018 (over 340,000).
Migration research and analysis output remained high
• There was a continued increase in the number of migration-related academic publications, with
the largest ever academic output produced during the last two years. There was significant
output from international organizations on a wide range of migration issues.
• Academic output on migration is dominated with perspectives from destination countries,
especially in relation to Europe. A geographic comparison of the primary affiliations of authors
in selected journals shows that most are from institutions in developed countries.