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29 Jun 2016

Global Migration Trends Factsheet 2015

IOM’s Global Migration Trends Factsheet 2015 presents a snapshot of the migration trends worldwide for the year 2015, based on migration statistics from a variety of sources.

In 2015, the number of international migrants worldwide – people residing in a country other than their country of birth – was the highest ever recorded, at 244 million (up from 232 million in 2013).

As a share of the world population, however, international migration has remained fairly constant over the past decades, at around 3 per cent.

While female migrants constitute only 48 per cent of the international migrant stock worldwide, and 42 per cent in Asia, women make up the majority of international migrants in Europe (52.4%) and North America (51.2%).

South–South migration flows (across developing countries) continued to grow compared to South–North movements (from developing to developed countries). In 2015, 90.2 million international migrants born in developing countries were living in other countries in the Global South, while 85.3 million born in the South lived in countries in the Global North.

As a proportion of the host country’s population, numbers of international migrants continue to be highest in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The foreign-born population makes up 88.4 per cent of the total population in the United Arab Emirates, 75.7 per cent in Qatar and 73.6 per cent in Kuwait.

Close to 1 in 5 migrants in the world live in the top 20 largest cities, according to IOM’s World Migration Report 2015. International migrants make up over a third of the total population in cities like Sydney, Auckland, Singapore and London. At least one in four residents in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris is foreign-born.

The world hosted 15.1 million refugees by mid-2015. This is a 45 per cent increase compared to three and a half years ago, largely due to continued conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, now well into its fifth year. Some five million people were newly displaced in the first half of 2015.