Home / News / India /  Indian diaspora, at 17.5 million, is the largest in the world, says UN study

New Delhi: The count of the Indian disapora has increased 10% from 15.9 million in 2015, making it the largest in the world, according to the UN’s International Migrant Stock 2019 released on Wednesday. It now comprises 6.4% of the total global migrant population. In 1990, India was behind Russia and Afghanistan as a source of international migrants at 6.6 million with Russia sending 12.7 million abroad and Afghanistan 6.8 million. In 2019, Russia fell to the fourth position behind Indian, Mexico and China with 10.5 million migrants.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the top destination of Indian migrants followed by the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Oman, as per the data set compiled by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division.

Bangladesh was a top source of migrants to India, followed by Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and China. In China’s case, the top source of migrants were from South Korea, Brazil, Phillpines and Indonesia. The number of migrants from India was not given by the UN though Indian ministry of External Affairs pegs the number at 35,500. The ministry also puts the numbers of non resident Indians and people of Indian origin around the world at 31 million.

“The estimates are based on official national statistics on the foreign born or the foreign population obtained from population censuses, population registered or nationally representative surveys," the UN said in a press statement.

Globally, in 2019, the number of international migrants worldwide was nearly 272 million, up from 221 million in 2010 and 174 million in 2000. More than half of all international migrants lived in Europe (82 million) or Northern America (59 million).

Women comprised slightly less than half of all international migrants. The share of women in the total number of international migrants fell from 49.3 % in 2000 to % cent in 2019. The share of migrant women varies across regions. In 2019, the percentage of females among all international migrants was highest in Northern America (51.8 %) and Europe (51.4 %). Central and Southern Asia (49.4 %), and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (49.3 %) hosted an almost equal proportion of female and male migrants.

Europe hosts the largest number of international migrants, at 82 million; followed by North America at 59 million; North Africa and Western Asia host around 49 million migrants. Two thirds of all international migrants were living in just 20 countries with the largest number of international migrants (51 million - equal to about 19% of the world’s total) living in the US. Germany and Saudi Arabia hosted the second and third largest numbers of migrants worldwide (around 13 million each), followed by the Russian Federation (12 million) and the United Kingdom (10 million).

The share of international migrants in the total population varies considerably across regions, the data shows, where foreign-born individuals comprise 21 % of the population of the Oceania region (Australia and New Zealand included), and 16 % of all people in Northern America.

In 2019, 38 million international migrants, equivalent to 14% of global migrant population, were under 20 years of age. Three out of every four international migrants are of working age (20-64 years) In 2019, 202 million international migrants, equivalent to 74 % of the global migrant population, were between the ages of 20 and 64. More than three quarters of international migrants were of working age in Eastern and South Eastern Asia, Europe and Northern America.

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