The global challenge of managing migration

The global challenge of managing migration

The number of international migrants more than doubled between1980 and 2010, from 103 million to 220 million. In 2013, the number of international migrants was 232 million and is projected to double to over 400 million by 2050.

The most significant recent change in international migration patterns is rising South-North migration. Between 1990 and 2010, the share of all international migrants in industrialized countries rose from 53 percent to 59 percent. The largest South-North migration corridor is Mexico-United States: Over 13 million Mexicans have moved to the United States since 1990. Large South-South migration corridors include Bangladesh to India (over 3 million migrants) and India to the United Arab Emirates (nearly 3 million migrants).

This Population Bulletin explains why people cross national borders, the effects of international migration on sending and receiving countries, and the struggle to improve migration management. The Bulletin examines international migration by region: North America and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Africa, and Oceania, and highlights major migration and development issues, including whether remittances, the money sent home by migrant workers abroad, speed development in migrant-sending countries.

The report highlights that although most migrants do not move far from home, every one of the world’s 200 countries participates in the international migration system as a source or destination for migrants or a country through which migrants transit. Many countries participate in all three ways. Each of the world’s continents has a migration system with unique characteristics:

  • there is a large number of unauthorised migrants in the United States
  • the unexpected settlement of guest workers in Europe
  • the high shares of foreign workers in the private sector of oil-exporting countries
  • in addtirion,Africa has one of the highest shares of refugees among international migrants. Oceania has high shares of  migrants among residents and Pacific Island nations are threatened by climate change
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