The countries with the highest number of emigrants

Oluwatoni Olujinmi

Migration has been a long-standing tradition, with the number of emigrants increasing day in and day out and despite some potential changes in the motivations behind it, the act has persisted. 

Emigration, the act of leaving one’s country to live in another, has been a significant global phenomenon for centuries. People emigrate for various reasons, including economic opportunities, political or religious persecution, family reunification, or simply the desire for a change of scenery. Here, we delve into the 10 countries with the highest number of emigrants.

10 countries with the highest number of emigrants 

The following are the countries counting the higher number of emigrants:

1. India – 17 million

With a vast population and diverse economic opportunities, India tops the list with about 17 million Indians living abroad. India has a very diversified population, which makes the immigration issue very complex.

Since the 19th century, Indians have moved to every continent and island in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, establishing their ethnic communities in each one.

Many Indians emigrate for better job prospects, higher education, or family reunification. The United States, the UAE, and Canada are popular destinations for Indian emigrants.

2. Mexico – 13 million

Proximity to the United States, one of the world’s largest economies, has led many Mexicans to emigrate, primarily for economic reasons.

Over the years, family reunification has also become a significant factor. In addition to the United States, Mexican emigrants have also settled in other English-speaking nations including Canada and the United Kingdom as well as several of their southern neighboring countries in Latin America.

3. China – 10 million 

China has one of the largest emigration rates in the world, especially since the leadership of the nation adopted a policy of greater integration, which encouraged many citizens to emigrate and seek refuge abroad.

The vastness of China’s population and its rapid economic growth have led to significant emigration, especially among the educated class. Australia, Canada, and the United States are all preferred travel locations for Chinese.

4. Russia – 10.6 million

Political and economic factors have driven many Russians to seek opportunities elsewhere. A recent Reuters report claims that Russia is dealing with a serious “brain-drain” problem, with Russians leaving the country now five times more frequently than they did in the early 2000s.

According to others, the demand of the migratory population for a better living, more political freedom, and a more secure economic condition is the primary cause of this increase in emigration.

5. Bangladesh – 7.5 million

Economic challenges and the search for better job opportunities have driven many Bangladeshis to emigrate as well, primarily to the Gulf countries and Malaysia.

About 5 million Bangladeshis moved to the GCC states in pursuit of employment between 1976 and 2009, according to official figures. Labor migration from Bangladesh began to spread to other nations however in the 1990s, including certain African nations, some Southeast Asian countries, and Japan.

Approximately 7.5 million Bangladeshis still reside outside of their country of origin, according to recent figures, indicating that emigration from Bangladesh is still widespread.

6. Syria – 6.9 million 

The Syrian civil war, which began in 2011, has led to a massive exodus of Syrians. Neighboring countries like Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan have taken in large numbers, while many have sought asylum in Europe.

7. Pakistan – 6 million 

The majority of Pakistanis migrate abroad in pursuit of better chances, particularly in light of the country’s current economic position, which has been rather dire, with Pakistan frequently on the verge of default.

Insufficient resources for an estimated population of 220 million individuals have only made an already challenging situation worse. The Gulf countries, the UK, and the US are among the top destinations.

8. Ukraine – 5.5 million

Political instability, especially post-2014, and economic challenges have driven many Ukrainians to seek opportunities in neighboring European countries and beyond.

Although there have been millions of Ukrainian emigrants in the past year alone as a result of Russia’s invasion, many Ukrainians left their country long before the war began, with Russia still playing a significant role as many fled after the annexation of Crimea and the conflicts in Eastern Ukraine.

9. Philippines – 5.7 million

The Philippines has a protracted record of labor migration. One of the main problems the Philippines is currently dealing with is poverty, which drives its citizens to leave the country in pursuit of better job prospects and better standards of living.

Many Filipinos work abroad in sectors like healthcare, seafaring, and domestic work. The US, UAE, and Saudi Arabia are top destinations.

10. United Kingdom – 4.9 million

Millions of UK citizens have left the country in recent decades to relocate elsewhere, even though it is a popular destination for immigrants to Europe. This is largely due to the high rates of inflation and relatively low earnings, which have priced out many individuals, as well as Brexit.

Different factors influenced emigration 

Emigration patterns are influenced by a myriad of factors, including economic, political, and social. While some countries see emigration primarily driven by economic reasons, others face political unrest or conflict that forces their citizens to seek refuge elsewhere.

Understanding these patterns and the reasons behind them is crucial for both sending and receiving countries to formulate policies that benefit both emigrants and their host communities.

Read also: The 10 countries where it is most difficult to obtain citizenship

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