Mapped: Immigration by Country, as a Percentage of the Population

Immigration by Country, as a Percentage of the Population

Many people move countries for work, study, or family. However, they may also be displaced by climate change, conflict, or economic instability.

There were 272 million immigrants in 2020, amounting to 3.5% of the global population. Where do they end up?

This interactive map from Our World in Data highlights immigration by country, as a percentage of the total population, using data from the United Nations (UN) Populations Division.

What Is an Immigrant?

The UN defines an immigrant as someone who has been living in a country other than their country of birth for one year or longer. In addition to new citizens or residents, a variety of people fit under this definition:

  • Foreign workers
  • International students
  • Refugees

The UN also includes estimates of unauthorized immigrants living in various countries. On the flip side, tourists, temporary workers, and overseas military personnel are typically not included.

Immigration by Country Over Time

With this definition in mind, here’s a breakdown of immigration by country as a percentage of the nation’s population.

Country 1990 2020 Absolute Change Relative Change
Afghanistan 0.47% 0.37% -0.10 p.p. -20%
Albania 2.01% 1.70% -0.31 p.p. -16%
Algeria 1.06% 0.57% -0.49 p.p. -46%
American Samoa 45.18% 30.35%² -14.83 p.p. -33%
Andorra 71.35% 58.98% -12.37 p.p. -17%
Angola 0.28% 2.00% 1.71 p.p. 606%
Anguilla 30.59% 33.24%² 2.66 p.p. 9%
Antigua and Barbuda 19.24% 30.01% 10.77 p.p. 56%
Argentina 5.06% 5.05% >-0.01 p.p. >-1%
Armenia 18.62% 6.42% -12.20 p.p. -65%
Aruba 22.84% 34.52%² 11.67 p.p. 51%
Australia 23.32% 30.14% 6.82 p.p. 29%
Austria 10.27% 19.30% 9.03 p.p. 88%
Azerbaijan 4.98% 2.49% -2.49 p.p. -50%
Bahamas 10.48% 16.17% 5.69 p.p. 54%
Bahrain 34.93% 55.01% 20.09 p.p. 58%
Bangladesh 0.85% 1.28% 0.43 p.p. 50%
Barbados 9.21% 12.13% 2.93 p.p. 32%
Belarus 12.30% 11.29% -1.01 p.p. -8%
Belgium 12.80% 17.30% 4.51 p.p. 35%
Belize 16.21% 15.60% -0.61 p.p. -4%
Benin 1.54% 3.25% 1.71 p.p. 111%
Bhutan 4.49% 6.95% 2.46 p.p. 55%
Bolivia 1.07% 1.41% 0.33 p.p. 31%
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.25% 1.10% -0.16 p.p. -12%
Botswana 2.14% 4.69% 2.55 p.p. 119%
Brazil 0.54% 0.51% -0.03 p.p. -5%
Brunei 28.29% 25.59% -2.70 p.p. -10%
Bulgaria 0.24% 2.65% 2.41 p.p. 992%
Burkina Faso 3.97% 3.46% -0.50 p.p. -13%
Burundi 6.13% 2.90% -3.23 p.p. -53%
Cambodia 0.43% 0.47% 0.05 p.p. 11%
Cameroon 2.26% 2.18% -0.08 p.p. -3%
Canada 15.73% 21.33% 5.59 p.p. 36%
Cape Verde 2.64% 2.84% 0.20 p.p. 7%
Central African Republic 2.40% 1.83% -0.56 p.p. -23%
Chad 1.25% 3.33% 2.09 p.p. 167%
Chile 0.81% 8.61% 7.79 p.p. 962%
China 0.03% 0.07% 0.04 p.p. 125%
Colombia 0.32% 3.75% 3.43 p.p. 1089%
Comoros 3.42% 1.44% -1.98 p.p. -58%
Congo 5.49% 7.02% 1.53 p.p. 28%
Costa Rica 13.39% 10.22% -3.17 p.p. -24%
Cote d’Ivoire 15.23% 9.72% -5.51 p.p. -36%
Croatia 9.95% 12.86% 2.91 p.p. 29%
Cuba 0.33% 0.03% -0.30 p.p. -92%
Cyprus 5.71% 15.77% 10.05 p.p. 176%
Czechia 1.07% 5.05% 3.98 p.p. 373%
Democratic Republic of Congo 2.18% 1.06% -1.11 p.p. -51%
Denmark 4.58% 12.39% 7.81 p.p. 171%
Djibouti 20.70% 12.12% -8.58 p.p. -41%
Dominica 3.58% 11.51% 7.93 p.p. 222%
Dominican Republic 4.08% 5.57% 1.48 p.p. 36%
Ecuador 0.77% 4.45% 3.68 p.p. 478%
Egypt 0.31% 0.53% 0.22 p.p. 72%
El Salvador 0.90% 0.66% -0.24 p.p. -27%
Equatorial Guinea 0.65% 16.44% 15.78 p.p. 2413%
Eritrea 0.53% 0.39% -0.13 p.p. -25%
Estonia 24.41% 15.02% -9.38 p.p. -38%
Eswatini 9.12% 2.83% -6.29 p.p. -69%
Ethiopia 2.41% 0.94% -1.47 p.p. -61%
Faeroe Islands 9.01% 10.96%² 1.95 p.p. 22%
Falkland Islands 42.69% 50.53%² 7.84 p.p. 18%
Fiji 1.82% 1.57% -0.25 p.p. -14%
Finland 1.27% 6.97% 5.70 p.p. 450%
France 10.41% 13.06% 2.65 p.p. 25%
French Guiana 54.35% 41.09%² -13.26 p.p. -24%
Gabon 13.50% 18.72% 5.22 p.p. 39%
Gambia 12.36% 8.92% -3.44 p.p. -28%
Georgia 5.63% 1.99% -3.64 p.p. -65%
Germany 7.51% 18.81% 11.30 p.p. 151%
Ghana 1.12% 1.53% 0.42 p.p. 37%
Greece 6.04% 12.86% 6.81 p.p. 113%
Greenland 16.71% 10.52%² -6.19 p.p. -37%
Grenada 4.43% 6.41% 1.98 p.p. 45%
Guadeloupe 18.72% 21.13%² 2.41 p.p. 13%
Guatemala 2.85% 0.47% -2.38 p.p. -83%
Guinea 6.35% 0.93% -5.43 p.p. -85%
Guinea-Bissau 1.58% 0.91% -0.66 p.p. -42%
Guyana 0.55% 3.96% 3.41 p.p. 619%
Haiti 0.27% 0.17% -0.11 p.p. -39%
Honduras 5.46% 0.40% -5.06 p.p. -93%
Hong Kong 38.73% 39.52% 0.78 p.p. 2%
Hungary 3.35% 6.05% 2.70 p.p. 81%
Iceland 3.76% 19.17% 15.41 p.p. 410%
India 0.87% 0.35% -0.52 p.p. -59%
Indonesia 0.26% 0.13% -0.13 p.p. -49%
Iran 7.61% 3.33% -4.28 p.p. -56%
Iraq 0.48% 0.91% 0.43 p.p. 89%
Ireland 6.49% 17.64% 11.15 p.p. 172%
Israel 36.70% 22.57% -14.13 p.p. -39%
Italy 2.50% 10.56% 8.06 p.p. 322%
Jamaica 0.85% 0.80% -0.05 p.p. -6%
Japan 0.86% 2.19% 1.33 p.p. 154%
Jordan 32.15% 33.89% 1.74 p.p. 5%
Kazakhstan 22.09% 19.88% -2.21 p.p. -10%
Kenya 1.26% 1.95% 0.70 p.p. 55%
Kiribati 2.99% 2.62% -0.37 p.p. -12%
Kuwait 51.27% 72.83% 21.55 p.p. 42%
Kyrgyzstan 14.25% 3.05% -11.20 p.p. -79%
Laos 0.54% 0.67% 0.13 p.p. 25%
Latvia 24.25% 12.69% -11.55 p.p. -48%
Lebanon 18.68% 25.09% 6.41 p.p. 34%
Lesotho 0.48% 0.56% 0.08 p.p. 16%
Liberia 4.58% 1.74% -2.84 p.p. -62%
Libya 10.30% 12.03% 1.73 p.p. 17%
Liechtenstein 37.88% 67.85% 29.97 p.p. 79%
Lithuania 9.45% 5.33% -4.12 p.p. -44%
Luxembourg 29.81% 47.62% 17.81 p.p. 60%
Madagascar 0.21% 0.13% -0.08 p.p. -38%
Malawi 11.99% 1.00% -10.99 p.p. -92%
Malaysia 3.86% 10.74% 6.88 p.p. 178%
Maldives 3.89% 12.96% 9.07 p.p. 233%
Mali 1.90% 2.40% 0.50 p.p. 26%
Malta 4.17% 25.99% 21.83 p.p. 524%
Marshall Islands 2.45% 5.57% 3.12 p.p. 127%
Martinique 10.77% 16.75%² 5.98 p.p. 55%
Mauritania 5.49% 3.92% -1.57 p.p. -29%
Mauritius 0.34% 2.27% 1.93 p.p. 564%
Mexico 0.83% 0.93% 0.10 p.p. 12%
Moldova 12.46% 2.59% -9.88 p.p. -79%
Monaco 69.17% 67.78% -1.39 p.p. -2%
Mongolia 0.31% 0.65% 0.34 p.p. 111%
Montenegro 12.58%¹ 11.30% -1.27 p.p. -10%
Montserrat 18.76% 21.79%² 3.03 p.p. 16%
Morocco 0.22% 0.28% 0.06 p.p. 25%
Mozambique 0.94% 1.08% 0.14 p.p. 15%
Myanmar 0.32% 0.14% -0.18 p.p. -56%
Namibia 8.42% 4.30% -4.11 p.p. -49%
Nauru 29.61% 20.32% -9.30 p.p. -31%
Nepal 2.27% 1.67% -0.60 p.p. -26%
Netherlands 7.90% 13.76% 5.86 p.p. 74%
New Caledonia 22.20% 25.45%² 3.25 p.p. 15%
New Zealand 15.24% 28.65% 13.41 p.p. 88%
Nicaragua 0.99% 0.64% -0.35 p.p. -36%
Niger 1.44% 1.44% >-0.01 p.p. >-1%
Nigeria 0.48% 0.64% 0.16 p.p. 32%
North Korea 0.17% 0.19% 0.02 p.p. 14%
North Macedonia 4.77% 6.30% 1.54 p.p. 32%
Norway 4.53% 15.72% 11.19 p.p. 247%
Oman 16.78% 46.47% 29.69 p.p. 177%
Pakistan 5.77% 1.48% -4.28 p.p. -74%
Palau 18.59% 28.12% 9.53 p.p. 51%
Palestine 13.72% 5.35% -8.37 p.p. -61%
Panama 2.54% 7.26% 4.72 p.p. 186%
Papua New Guinea 0.73% 0.35% -0.38 p.p. -52%
Paraguay 4.64% 2.38% -2.26 p.p. -49%
Peru 0.26% 3.71% 3.46 p.p. 1345%
Philip.p.ines 0.25% 0.21% -0.04 p.p. -17%
Poland 2.97% 2.16% -0.81 p.p. -27%
Portugal 4.40% 9.83% 5.42 p.p. 123%
Puerto Rico 9.12% 7.59%² -1.53 p.p. -17%
Qatar 65.04% 77.27% 12.23 p.p. 19%
Reunion 9.47% 14.39%² 4.91 p.p. 52%
Romania 0.58% 3.67% 3.09 p.p. 534%
Russia 7.81% 7.97% 0.16 p.p. 2%
Rwanda 2.19% 3.97% 1.77 p.p. 81%
Saint Kitts and Nevis 7.97% 14.52% 6.55 p.p. 82%
Saint Lucia 3.84% 4.54% 0.70 p.p. 18%
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 19.69% 19.14%² -0.55 p.p. -3%
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3.69% 4.27% 0.58 p.p. 16%
Samoa 2.06% 2.03% -0.03 p.p. -2%
San Marino 13.72% 16.33% 2.61 p.p. 19%
Sao Tome and Principe 4.68% 0.98% -3.71 p.p. -79%
Saudi Arabia 30.79% 38.65% 7.86 p.p. 26%
Senegal 3.59% 1.64% -1.95 p.p. -54%
Serbia 1.04% 9.42% 8.38 p.p. 803%
Seychelles 5.27% 13.27% 8.00 p.p. 152%
Sierra Leone 5.14% 0.67% -4.47 p.p. -87%
Singapore 24.14% 43.14% 19.00 p.p. 79%
Slovakia 0.78% 3.61% 2.83 p.p. 362%
Slovenia 8.88% 13.37% 4.50 p.p. 51%
Solomon Islands 1.35% 0.37% -0.99 p.p. -73%
Somalia 6.62% 0.37% -6.25 p.p. -94%
South Africa 3.16% 4.82% 1.66 p.p. 52%
South Korea 0.10% 3.37% 3.27 p.p. 3238%
South Sudan 2.43%¹ 7.88% 5.46 p.p. 225%
Spain 2.10% 14.63% 12.54 p.p. 598%
Sri Lanka 0.24% 0.19% -0.05 p.p. -22%
Sudan 6.96% 3.15% -3.82 p.p. -55%
Suriname 4.46% 8.15% 3.68 p.p. 83%
Sweden 9.21% 19.84% 10.63 p.p. 116%
Switzerland 20.93% 28.79% 7.86 p.p. 38%
Syria 5.74% 4.96% -0.77 p.p. -13%
Tajikistan 8.12% 2.89% -5.22 p.p. -64%
Tanzania 2.28% 0.71% -1.56 p.p. -69%
Thailand 0.94% 5.20% 4.27 p.p. 457%
Togo 2.25% 3.38% 1.13 p.p. 50%
Tonga 3.06% 3.54% 0.48 p.p. 16%
Trinidad and Tobago 4.15% 5.63% 1.49 p.p. 36%
Tunisia 0.46% 0.51% 0.05 p.p. 10%
Turkey 2.16% 7.18% 5.02 p.p. 233%
Turkmenistan 8.32% 3.23% -5.09 p.p. -61%
Tuvalu 3.57% 2.03% -1.54 p.p. -43%
Uganda 3.14% 3.76% 0.63 p.p. 20%
Ukraine 13.39% 11.43% -1.97 p.p. -15%
United Arab Emirates 71.46% 88.13% 16.67 p.p. 23%
United Kingdom 6.39% 13.79% 7.40 p.p. 116%
United States 9.22% 15.30% 6.08 p.p. 66%
Uruguay 3.15% 3.12% -0.04 p.p. -1%
Uzbekistan 8.10% 3.47% -4.63 p.p. -57%
Vanuatu 1.57% 1.06% -0.51 p.p. -33%
Venezuela 5.22% 4.66% -0.56 p.p. -11%
Vietnam 0.04% 0.08% 0.04 p.p. 93%
Western Sahara 0.97% 0.83%² -0.14 p.p. -15%
World 2.87% 3.60% 0.73 p.p. 25%
Yemen 1.01% 1.30% 0.28 p.p. 28%
Zambia 3.48% 1.02% -2.46 p.p. -71%
Zimbabwe 6.08% 2.80% -3.28 p.p. -54%


¹Data as of 2010 due to data availability
²Data as of 2015 due to data availability

Higher immigration levels are generally correlated with higher standards of living and advanced economies. For instance, North America, Europe, and Oceania all have a relatively high proportion of immigrants.

The United States is home to the largest number of immigrants—over 50 million—which now make up 15% of the country’s population. Since 1990, the proportion of immigrants in the country has continued to rise. As with most advanced economies, immigration has helped to counter a decline in fertility rates.

Over the last 30 years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has had the highest immigration by country, with 88% of its population being defined as immigrants in 2020. The country has the highest GDP per capita of any of its neighboring countries, and draws many migrant workers.

Meanwhile, South Korea has seen the largest relative increase in immigrants over the last three decades. Faced with the lowest fertility rate in the world and an aging population, the country has enacted policy reforms to encourage immigration, including a formal guest worker program and local voting rights for permanent foreign residents.

Integration or Separation?

Immigrants can help fill labor gaps and drive economic innovation in their new country of residence. Depending on their destination, they may benefit from things like higher pay, access to better education, and a more stable political climate.

Notably, countries respond to immigration in different ways. In one study measuring what governments are doing to integrate migrants, Sweden ranked at the top. The country offers non-EU citizens equal access to education, labor market rights and its social safety net, and it also has strong anti-discrimination laws.

On the flip side, immigrants may face challenges integrating into other countries. For instance, the UAE’s kafala (sponsorship) system is structured so that employment visas are granted by local individuals or companies rather than the state. This gives employers enhanced power over their workers, and in the past it has resulted in alleged human rights abuses.

The post Mapped: Immigration by Country, as a Percentage of the Population appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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