UN Takes Stock of Global Migration

UN-DESA Logo17 September 2019: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) released updated statistics on international migrants, which now make up 3.5% of the global population, compared to 2.8% in 2000. The share of international migrants in the global population has grown faster than the world’s population.

Three out of four international migrants are between 20 and 64 years old; in other words, 202 million migrants are of “working age”. One out of seven international migrants, equivalent to 38 million people, is under 20 years old. Women and girls will comprise 48% of international migrants in 2019, a slight decrease from 49% in 2010.


Child Refugees
Today, 14% of all migrants are below 20 years of age

Globally, the number of refugees and asylum seekers increased by 13 million between 2010 and 2017, a figure that accounts for nearly 25% of the increase in the number of all international migrants. Northern Africa and Western Asia host approximately 46% of these refugees and asylum seekers, followed by sub-Saharan Africa, which hosts approximately 21%.


The majority of refugees and migrants are of working age

UN DESA stressed that, beyond these numbers, migration “has major impacts on both the people and the places involved. When migration is supported by appropriate policies, it can support inclusive and sustainable development in both destination and origin countries and benefit migrants and their families. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration recognize these linkages between migration and development. Both the 2030 Agenda and the Global Compact state the importance of accurate, disaggregated migration data for evidence-based policies and to monitor progress. This dataset contributes to the data necessary to assess current and future trends and inform policy priorities and decision-making.


Fishing boats
Refugees in North Africa cross the Mediterranean by boat

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