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01 Dec 2021

World Migration Report 2022: Chapter 7 - International migration as a stepladder of opportunity: what do the global data actually show?

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This chapter examines the key questions of “who migrates internationally and where do they go?” It presents analysis of a range of statistical data and draws upon some of the existing body of research on migration determinants and decision-making.

Analysis of international migrant stock and human development index data show that between 1995 and 2020, migration from low- and medium-development countries increased, but only slightly, reconfirming existing macroeconomic analyses which show that international migration from low-income countries has historically been limited.

However, contrary to previous understandings of international migration, the analysis indicates that there has been a “polarizing” effect, with migration activity increasingly being associated with highly developed countries. This raises the key issue of migration aspirations held by potential migrants from developing countries around the world who may wish to realize opportunities through international migration, but are unable to do so as legal pathways are unavailable to them.