AU and NZ Remain Dream Home for Migrants – Gallup’s Potential Net Migration Index

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By Athena Yenko | February 3, 2014 2:40 PM EST

Gallup's Potential Net Migration Index reported that Australia and New Zealand remain the ideal migration destination for people around the world among countries in the region. The population for the two countries can increase vastly if these people will be given freedom to live in a country where they wanted, the poll revealed.

The intention of people to migrate permanently to other countries had decrease to 13 per cent, but the score for moving to Australia and New Zealand remained "positive and high."

The survey was conducted through interviewing 520,000 participants in 154 countries - taking away the number of people interested to leave a country from the number of those interested to move in the same country.

In the list of Potential Net Migration to Asia for 2010-12, Australia lands at no. 1 with 1.36 per cent, followed by New Zealand with 1.34 per cent.

Professor Paul Spoonley explained that the decline in the percentage of New Zealand as compared to Australia for 2010-2012 was due to New Zealand's "cooling of the job market".

"The global financial crisis has seen a softening of people applying to come to New Zealand in real terms, and the slowdown in the job market over the period also affected the desire of people on wanting to move here," Mr Spoonley told NZ Herald.

As compared to Australia, "The big change in the last couple of years was the strength in the Australian labour market and the weakening of the job market in New Zealand, which could explain why Australia became a more popular choice," he added.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were listed as top two most desired destinations for would-be migrants among the countries in the Middle East and North Africa. People were seeing both countries as high-income countries which offer economic opportunities and employment.

Canada tops the list of the Potential Net Migration among the countries in the Americas.

As a whole, the report shed light on the aftermath of global economic downturn in relation to people's desire to move out from their country and moved to another. Essentially, the study showed that people were still looking forward for economic conditions to eventually improve in these countries.

*Survey method

The PNMI is measured on a scale of -100 (meaning the total adult population of the country would leave) to infinity (meaning the potential inflow of adult population to the country is unlimited and depends on the number of adults who want to move in from around the world). As with any survey-based estimate, the PNMI has a corresponding margin of error for each country, calculated using the standard error of the index. Sample size, size of the country, and range in population projection weights affect the PNMI margin of error.

Gallup's PNMI is based on responses to the following questions:

Ideally, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move permanently to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country?

(If "would like to move permanently to another country") To which country would you like to move? [open-ended, one response allowed]

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