Refugees and migration

Seeking a new life

Print edition : September 14, 2018
The number of migrants worldwide has been increasing, as has the number of refugees and displaced people.

The number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow in recent years, touching 258 million in 2017, up from 220 million in 2010 and 173 million in 2000, according to the United Nations International Migration Report 2017.

Nearly two-thirds of all international migrants lived in Asia (80 million) or Europe (78 million), while North America hosted 58 million, followed by Africa (25 million). The largest number of international migrants (50 million) resided in the United States. Saudi Arabia, Germany and Russia hosted around 12 million each, followed by the United Kingdom (nearly 9 million).

In 2016, the total number of refugees and asylum seekers in the world was estimated at 25.9 million. Turkey hosted the largest refugee population worldwide, with 3.1 million refugees and asylum seekers, followed by Jordan (2.9 million), Palestine (2.2 million), Lebanon (1.6 million) and Pakistan (1.4 million), according to the report.

In 2017, India was the largest country of origin of international migrants (17 million), followed by Mexico (13 million). Other countries of origin with large migrant populations include Russia (11 million), China (10 million), Bangladesh (7 million), Syria (7 million) and Pakistan and Ukraine (6 million each).

In another report, released in June, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the population of forcibly displaced people worldwide increased in 2017 by 2.9 million to touch 68.5 million. They were forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, or generalised violence. “As a result, the world’s forcibly displaced population remained yet again at a record high,” the report said.