Today, more people than ever are living abroad; with Asia seeing the largest increase of international migrants over the past decade, and the United States and Europe remaining the most popular destination. The U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) said on Wednesday that today 232 million people or 3.2 per cent of the world's population live abroad worldwide. This compared to 175 million in 2000 and 154 million in 1990.
"Most international migrants originate in developing country but in recent years they have been settling in almost equal number in developed and developing regions," John Wilmoth, Director of UN-DESA's Population Division told journalists in New York.
The figures released by UN-DESA also indicate a shift since 2000 with South-North and South-South migration at about 82 million international migrants.
The UN-DESA figures released ahead of a high-level global summit on migration and development which will be held at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Oct 3 and 4.
The U.N. news release said this second high-level dialogue will aim to identifying concrete measures to strengthen coherence and cooperation between countries, at all levels.
The objective of the dialogue will be to enhance the benefits of international migration for migrants and countries alike and to demonstrate the important link it has to development, at the same time reduce its negative impacts.
"Migration, when governed fairly, can make a very important contribution to social and economic development both in the countries of origin and in the countries of destination," said Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
"Migration broadens the opportunities available to individuals and is a crucial means of broadening access to resources and reducing poverty."
According to the statistics released by UN-DESA, Europe and Asia host nearly two-thirds of all international migrants worldwide.
Europe remains the most popular destination region with 72 million international migrants in 2013, compared to 71 million in Asia.
Within Europe, Germany and France hosts the largest immigrant communities due to work migration and geographic routes with North Africa.
In terms of numbers, Compared to other regions of destination, the release said, Asia saw the largest increase of international migrants since 2000, adding some 20 million migrants in 13 years.
The report says, this growth in international migrants to Asia was mainly fuelled by the increasing demand for foreign labour in the oil-producing countries of Western Asia and in South-Eastern Asian countries. These include rapidly growing economies, such as Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
"New sources and destinations of migrants are emerging, and in some cases, countries have become important points of origin, transit and destination simultaneously," Mr. Wilmoth said.
The study finds that the largest corridor of international migration, however, remains between the United States and Mexico.
The report says, U.S. gained the largest absolute number of international migrants between 1990 and 2013-nearly 23 million which equals to one million additional migrants per year.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates recorded the second largest gain with seven million and followed by Spain with six million.
The findings also show that among the international migrants, 74 per cent are in the working age of 20 and 64 years.
Gender-wise the international migrants are about evenly spread, with women accounting for 48 per cent of all international migrants, the report finds.
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