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The Top Migrant Destinations

Updated on July 23, 2016

After writing my other hub, I decided to get more detailed about the top migrant destinations around the world and the main reasons for that countries to be chosen as destinations.

Even when looking at the top 5 of the migrant destinations there are several different countries, being difficult to find the similarities between them.

The main reasons found were:

  • Need for cheap labour force
  • Good and Stable economic growth
  • Reasonable location

The Top Migrant Destinations

These are the top country destinations, numbers and probable reasons.

Chinese immigrants in the early years of the USA
Chinese immigrants in the early years of the USA | Source


The United States of America are clearly the biggest destination to emigrants, with more than 40 million immigrants living in the States, the US has 13% of its population born outside the country.

The US has always been a country known for its multiculturalism and heterogeneous populations gathers.

The main immigration origin is clearly Mexico with more than 11 million people living in the US. This is easily explained by location and the economic differences between the US and Mexico, specially in the wages.

Other countries that contribute to the high number of immigrants are:

  • China, with more than 1.7 million people, some of them searching for a better job and life, others wanting to live in a more developed country. Many of them are in California, but others look for opportunities in the East Coast, in New York.
  • Philippines, with a number similar to the Chinese, was a US colony until 1946, so some of the people from Philippines have great American influences, speaking English easily, which is a great advantage when migrating. Most of the Filipinos live in California.
  • India, the former British colony contributes with almost 1.7 million people, being the main communities in California, New Jersey and New York.
  • Puerto Rico, the American territory, but not an American state is one of the main origins due to the easiness of migration between the US and PR. With a population of only 3,6 million and 1,6 million in the US it is easy to notice the high dependence of PR to the US. Most of the Puerto Ricans live in the East Cost, specially in New York, New Jersey and Florida.

Also contributing are:

  • Vietnam;
  • El Salvador;
  • South Korea;
  • Cuba;
  • Canada;

Most of this countries have a large population, making it easy to appear on the top with only 0,2% of their population (China).


Germany has over twelve million immigrants, in a country of eighty million people, and it is easy to understand why, the economy, but you should also know that the government of West Germany contributed to this helpful participation of Turks in the German Economy.

In 1961 the West Germany government closed a deal with the Turkish government. The Bilateral Recruitment Agreement with Turkey is firmed and a Central Recruitment Office is established in Istanbul. By the year’s end, 7,000 Turkish workers are living in Germany.

Spain and Yugoslavia were the other countries that Germany also signed a deal with in the sixties.

Nowadays Germany has been receiving an influx of immigrants from Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and Greece.

Curiously the migrant flux with Turkey has changed and there were more people moving to Turkey than from Turkey.

Percentage of Ethnic Russian in Ukraine
Percentage of Ethnic Russian in Ukraine | Source


Due to its size and former integration in the USSR, Russia is the number three when it comes to the top destination of migrants in absolute numbers. It has almost twelve million migrants that represent more than 8% of the total population.

Most of these migrants are from Ukraine and due to the instability in Ukraine and the uncertainty on who belongs the territory many Ukrainians that identify themselves as Russians are fleeing from Ukraine.

Russia is also a country with an outflow of immigrants, mainly due to the intolerence of part the Russian society to the LGBT and Jew population.

Middle East

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are three countries with a huge migrant population to native population ratio.

This was caused by the huge influx of money due to the oil exports and now the countries are spending money in the development of infrastructures and in the future of the country.

UAE is the country with the highest share of immigrant population with almost 90% of its population being composed by immigrants.

Most of these immigrants come from countries like India and Bangladesh, people that are willing to work for very low wages

Abu Dhabi Airport, and example of the Asian immigrants contribution to the country.

Africa - The least desirable

If we consider Africa as a region without any borders, it has plenty of cheap labour force but it lacks the qualified workforce to manage the resources and companies.

It also lacks a strong government in most countries, contributing to instability and uncertainty about the future, making it less desirable for the people and for the business.

Many of the inflow migration in Africa are western people with a qualified degree that emigrate to Africa seeking a good paying job in multinational companies. Most of these jobs are in the big city centers where the Western communities are a significant part.

Despite all these factors, we also have to remember the due to the interests of many big nations, Africa has been helped in not so helpful ways.


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 22 months ago from Oklahoma

      I figured the U.S. Would be tops on this list.

      Interesting read.


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