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Friday, October 19, 2012

OECD Report Profiles the World’s 630 Million Potential Migrants

By Neli Esipova, World Poll Regional Director; Julie Ray, Writer and Analyst; and Aurelien Renard, Gallup Strategic Consultant

About 14% of world’s adults -- roughly 630 million adults aged 15 and older -- said they would like to move to another country permanently if they had the opportunity to do so between 2008 and 2010. However, less than one-tenth of them -- about 48 million adults -- were planning to move in the following year, and less than half of those in the planning stages -- about 19 million people -- were already making the necessary preparations to move, such as applying for visas and purchasing tickets.

These findings are from the report, Connecting with Emigrants: A Global Profile of Diasporas, published by The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the French Agency for Development (AFD). The report examines the potential of diasporas as a source of economic and social development in origin countries, whether they could help foster development depending on their characteristics, and how governments facilitate the involvement of diasporas.

Through its partnership with the OECD, Gallup contributed to this report by providing exclusive insights on the profile of potential migrants. Through its World Poll, Gallup collected data on the desire to migrate in 146 countries from 2008 to 2010. These data highlight migration patterns that may change the composition of diasporas in the coming years.

Here are some of the top findings from this report:

  • People are nearly twice as likely to say they would like to migrate for temporary work (26%) as to leave permanently (14%). Across the 119 countries and areas surveyed in 2009 and 2010, an estimated 1.1 billion people wish to migrate to work temporarily to another country.
  • One in three residents in the sub-Saharan African countries surveyed expressed a desire to migrate permanently to another country -- the highest percentage among all regions.
  • Sixteen countries attract more than 70% of potential migrants worldwide, with the U.S. and Canada and countries in the European Union appearing as the destination countries that appeal most.
  • About one in four potential migrants -- 145 million adults worldwide -- indicate the United States as their desired country of residence.
  • Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Australia appeal to at least 25 million adults. One in five adults who would like to move to a country in the European Union already lives in the European Union.
  • Nearly one in four adults aged 15 to 24 would like to migrate (23%), compared with 15% in the 25 to 44 age group, 9% in the 45 to 64 age group, and 5% for those aged 65 and older.
  • Worldwide, underemployed adults are more likely (20%) than those employed full time (13%) or not in the workforce (11%) to express their wish to migrate.
For more in-depth data on worldwide migration patterns, read Connecting with Emigrants: A Global Profile of Diasporas and more stories on global migration trends from


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