Countries With The Most Immigrants

24/7 Wall St.

The United States has always been regarded as a nation of immigrants. Recently-published figures from the United Nations support this view. More than 45 million immigrants live in the U.S., according to UN figures, more than four times as many living in any other nation in the world.

Based on figures recently released by the UN’s Population Division, 24/7 Wall St. identified the eight nations with the highest total number of international migrants living inside their borders as of this year. These are the countries with the most immigrants.

Click here to see the top immigration destinations

ALSO READ: The Worst States to Be Unemployed

Several of the nations with the highest migrant populations are also among the world’s most populous. Both the U.S., and Russia are all among the 10 most populous countries in the world. Five of the eight nations are among the world’s 30 most populous nations.

Despite having large migrant populations, many of these nations do not have policies that actively support immigration. In fact, according to the UN, the governments of Saudi Arabia, France, the United Kingdom, and United Arab Emirates all promoted policies aimed at lowering the level of immigration into their countries, as of 2011. Only one of these nations, Russia, actively promoted immigration into their country as of 2011.

Most of these countries maintain different, more-accommodating policies for high-skilled workers than for most other potential immigrants, according to Vinod Mishra, chief of the population policy section of the United Nations Population Division. “It’s mostly the [number of] highly-skilled workers that almost all countries are trying to raise,” Mishra told 24/7 Wall St.

The actual immigration trends in these countries do not necessarily reflect the policies their governments have tried to enforce. Russia, which has actively sought to increase immigration, has had its immigrant population fall by 10% since 2010. Germany, which has sought to recruit highly-skilled workers from slumping Euro zone nations, has failed to retain many of the skilled workers that arrive there, and has also experienced a meaningful decrease in its immigrant population.

ALSO READ: States Where the Most People Go Hungry

Similarly, all four nations whose governments viewed immigration as too high as of 2011 have seen immigrant populations rise between 2010 and 2013. In one such nation, the UAE, the number of immigrants has more-than doubled in that time.

One reason for the disparity between policy and migration rates is that some nations are more appealing to potential immigrants than others. The U.S.'s GDP per capita was more than $49,900 in 2012, among the highest in the world. All but one of the countries leading the world in immigrant population were among the top 30 countries in the world for per capita GDP in 2012. Mishra added that while nations can determine how many people they allow in, the decision to move to a certain nation is largely driven by demand. And the primary driver of demand, according to Mishra, are “financial factors [and] the availability of jobs.”

To determine the nations with the most immigrants as of July 1 2013, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed figures published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Population Division as part of its International Migration 2013 report. Information about governments' attitudes and policies towards immigration and emigration, as well as statistics on the total number of international migrants from 2010, comes from the Population Division’s International Migration Policies 2013 report. Per capita GDP figures, which are adjusted to reflect purchasing power parity exchange rates, are from the IMF. Other measures, used to guage a nation’s attractiveness, are from the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014.

These are the countries with the most immigrants.

8. Canada
> Immigrants: 7.3 million
> Pct of population: 20.7%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $42,734
> Gov’t immigration goals: Maintain

Currently, 7.3 million immigrants live in Canada, equivalent to more than 20% of the nation’s total population. As 2011, the Canadian government was one of the few to propose policies that would increase the level of immigration for the purpose of family unification. The level of immigration, more generally, was considered satisfactory in the same year, according to the U.N. In spite of Canada’s exceptionally liberal immigration policies, there has been concern recently over whether Canada’s immigrants are successfully integrating into society. To avoid the potential social tension that could arise from a growing economic difference between immigrants and locals, the Canadian government has restructured its screening process to emphasize factors such as job skills and language fluency.

ALSO READ: Football Teams with the Most Expensive Tickets

ALSO READ: The Countries with the Most Multimillionaires

7. France
> Immigrants: 7.4 million
> Pct of population: 11.6%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $35,548
> Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease

Just 11.6% or France’s roughly 65 million residents are international migrants. According to the U.N. Population division, while the French government promoted some policies aimed at attracting skilled immigrants as of 2011, the governments overall attitude toward immigration was generally negative. As a member of the European Union, France is obligated to support the free movement of EU nationals between the EU nations. In recent years, however, the European Commission has criticized the French government for expelling Roma, popularly called Gypsies, from the country. France’s existing immigrant population is older, with nearly 20% at least 65 years of age, compared to just 11.1% globally.

6. United Kingdom
> Immigrants: 7.8 million
> Pct of population: 12.4%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $36,941
> Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease

About 7.8 million million immigrants live in the U.K., up from just under 6.5 million as of 2010. This is despite the U.K. government’s view, as of 2011, that the large influx of foreigners to the country was somewhat of a problem. The government’s policies intended to lower the level of immigration to the country, including high-skilled workers immigration. Only one of the world’s eight largest destinations for immigrants, the United Arab Emirates, had a higher average annual increase in immigration that exceeded the U.K.’s 4.0%. Although the country’s aging population may actually signal a necessity for more immigrants, British Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that immigration has strained the nation’s public services.

5. United Arab Emirates
> Immigrants: 7.8 million
> Pct of population: 83.7%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $49,012
> Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease

A stunning 83.7% of UAE residents are international migrants the most of any country in the world, excluding only Vatican City. Between 2010 and 2013, the emirates let in more than 4.5 million migrant workers, more than any other nation in the world. The UAE is able to attract workers to come there because the country is extremely wealthy, with an economy driven by oil and finance. As of 2012, the nation’s per capita GDP exceeded $49,000, on-par with that of the U.S. But despite the nation’s appeal for immigrants, the UAE’s government as of 2011 considered immigration to be too high. Additionally, the country has been criticized for the poor living and working conditions faced by many migrant workers.

4. Saudi Arabia
> Immigrants: 9.1 million
> Pct of population: 31.4%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $31,275
> Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease

Nearly one-third of Saudi Arabia’s population consists of immigrants, while between 2000 and 2013 the number of immigrants rose by an annual average of 4.2% per year, higher than most other nations. Between 2010 and 2013 alone, the number of immigrants to Saudi Arabia rose 24.3% As of 2011, the Saudi Arabian government regarded the overall level of legal immigration as too high and implemented policies to reduce immigration, according to the UN had. Similarly, the government’s policies on the naturalization of immigrants were also considered restrictive. Recent news reports suggest immigration policy in Saudi Arabia has only become more restrictive with new measures implemented to prevent undocumented workers from finding employment.

ALSO READ: The Worst Economies in the World

3. Germany
> Immigrants: 9.8 million
> Pct of population: 11.9%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $39,028
> Gov’t immigration goals: Maintain

ALSO READ: The Best Economies in the World

Germany, one of the world's largest economies, is a popular destination for immigrants. Its well-developed infrastructure and top-rate higher education only add to its attraction. Just under 10 milllion of the country’s 82 million residents are immigrants. As of 2011, Germany’s policies reflected approval of the country’s rate of immigration. In 2012, with the eurozone crisis still unabated, a growing number of young workers immigrated from southern Europe to Germany. But Germany has openly recruited high skilled-workers to live and work in the country permanently, especially as the country’s population ages and shrinks, according to Der Spiegel. Unfortunately, many such workers fail to stay for even as little as a year, and since 2010 the number of immigrants to Germany has actually dropped.

2. Russian Federation
> Immigrants: 11.0 million
> Pct of population: 7.7%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $17,709
> Gov’t immigration goals: Increase

More than 12 million immigrants lived in Russia in 2010 and the Russian government was among the few seeking to increase the number of foreigners entering the country. In 2011, the country's government viewed immigration as too low and oriented its policies towards increasing immigration. However, these policies have failed to attract more net immigrants: as of this year, there are just over 11 million immigrants living in Russia, a decrease of roughly 10% from 2010. Local authorities have not embraced the prospect of single-ethnicity communities for Chinese, Uzbeks, Tajiks and other ethnic groups in Russia ,and have even sought to ban them in some cases, hoping instead to promote integration into Russian society.

1. United States of America
> Immigrants: 45.8 million
> Pct of population: 14.3%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $49,922
> Gov’t immigration goals: Maintain

The U.S. is by far the largest destination for immigrants, with more than 45.7 million living in the country, according to the UN. As of 2011, the U.S. government’s policies toward both immigration and emigration remained effectively neutral. However, immigration reform has been especially prominent in Congress this year. This reform is expected to address issues related to illegal immigration, while determining how, and whether, undocumented immigrants should be able to attain citizenship. Considering the U.S. has one the highest per capita GDPs in the world, at nearly $50,000, its appeal to immigrants is fairly straightforward. It is the world's largest economy, as measured by output, and has the second largest total exports. Also, the U.S. offers well-developed infrastructure and financial markets, as well as quality education.

Related Articles

Rates

View Comments (321)

Recommended for You

  • Tycoon buys 30 Rolls-Royces for Macau hotel

    A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau. Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in…

    Associated Press
  • 1 Tip To Lose Belly Fat

    It's Hollywood's Hottest Diet And Gets Rid Of Stubborn Fat Areas Like Nothing Else.

    AdChoicesagoodcooksSponsored
  • Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks

    Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks While investors gear up for Alibaba Group 's (BABA) hotly anticipated initial public offering, don't forget about other Chinese stocks that are worth keeping an eye on. Today's Young Guns Screen of

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia

    Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia MOSCOW (AP) — The arrest of a Russian telecoms and oil tycoon has sent shock waves through the country's business community, with some fearing a return to the dark days of a decade ago, when the Kremlin asserted its power by imprisoning the country's…

    Associated Press
  • Play

    Citi, Bank of America Offer Discounted Mortgages

    Citigroup and Bank of America will offer mortgages at discounted interest rates to help borrowers with low incomes or subprime credit. AnnaMaria Andriotis joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty.

    WSJ Live
  • "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savings

    "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savingsBy the time she hit her late 40s, Toni Eugenia wasn’t sure she would ever be able to retire. Eugenia, 56, a pharmacy technician who lived in Houston, was nearly $200,000 in debt and

    Yahoo Finance
  • Costco Stores in Canada to Stop Taking American Express

    “The credit card relationship between American Express and Costco Wholesale Canada will not be renewed when it expires” on Dec. 31, the company said today in an e-mail to Canadian customers. The message was attributed to Lorelle Gilpin, vice president of marketing and membership for Costco…

    Bloomberg
  • CNBC Anchor Calls Out Fed-Hater Bill Fleckenstein In Startling Shouting Match

    CNBC Bill Fleckenstein of Fleckenstein Capital appeared on CNBC's Futures Now program on Tuesday. Futures Now host Jackie DeAngelis came out swinging, asking Fleckenstein right at the top if he was willing to admit that he had misunderstood monetary policy. Sounding taken aback, Fleckenstein…

    Business Insider
  • Wondering How You Could Save on Home Insurance?

    Get a quote from Farmers Insurance and discover how you could save. Speak with an agent to get the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

    AdChoicesFarmers InsuranceSponsored
  • Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court

    Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors seeking to put the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies in prison for hiding millions in Swiss bank accounts told appellate court judges Wednesday that the toymaker's sentence of probation threatens to erode the…

    Associated Press
  • Apple to unveil new iPads, operating system on Oct. 21 : report

    The company plans to unveil the sixth generation of its iPad and the third edition of the iPad mini, as well as its operating system OS X Yosemite, which has undergone a complete visual overhaul, the Internet news website said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The iPad is…

    Reuters
  • Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks

    Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks Gilead Sciences (GILD) shares are backsliding Wednesday on news that the patient drop-out rate for hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is quadruple that of clinical trials. In addition, the biotech's Phase 2 study results

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Margaritaville casino owners seek bankruptcy

    The owner of Biloxi's Margaritaville casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, only hours before a hearing where the landlord aimed to seize the property. The filing by MVB Holding LLC in U.S. Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company had planned to ask…

    Associated Press
  • Don't care about Alibaba? Here's why it may matter

    When the Alibaba Group Holding prices its initial public offering Thursday, small businesses in particular will be watching. Founder Jack Ma -the former English-teacher-turned-dot-com billionaire-has touted his e-commerce platform as a way for smaller merchants to expand their international…

    CNBC
  • Play

    Tues., Sept. 16: Watch Humana Stock

    Humana, Global X Social Media Index ETF and Majesco Entertainment are among stocks to watch. WSJ's Chris Dieterich discusses the details with Michael Casey. Photo: Humana

    WSJ Live
  • Take Your Career in Law to the Next Level!

    Earn an accredited Master of Laws in only 1 year. 100% online, No LSAT required, and 5 concentrations offered, including Taxation Law. Apply today!

    AdChoicesThomas Jefferson Law Sponsored
  • Here's What Mark Cuban Wishes He Knew About Money In His 20s

    Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban is generous with his advice. When we asked him what he wishes he'd known about money in his 20s, he said:

    Business Insider
  • Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More

    Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More Stocks were firm on Wednesday morning ahead of the FOMC meeting outcome. Tuesday’s rally may have sparked higher interest again, and investors are looking for bargains

    24/7 Wall St.
  • SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone

    "and like that: he's gone." This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT) In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO,…

    Business Insider
  • Boeing may have outfoxed Musk, but it could have bigger problems

    Elon Musk is arguably one of the greatest entrepreneurial minds of the 21st Century, but he was outsized an old school aerospace giant. Boeing won the bulk of NASA’s contract for a space taxi.  One of the other companies vying for the deal is SpaceX, the company headed by Tesla’s Musk, will get a…

    Talking Numbers
  • Billionaire Investor Says Chinese People Work Harder And Western Companies Could Face Deep Trouble After Alibaba IPO

    Michael Moritz, the chairman of VC firm Sequoia Capital, is a huge fan of Chinese internet companies and reiterated his enthusiasm for the Chinese market in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The billionaire investor described the Alibaba IPO as a “major landmark event” that is as…

    Business Insider
  • As Fed takes baby steps, Cramer's trick for profit

    In turn, Cramer says making money in the market, involves looking at the environment through the lens of the Fed. "The trick is to remember that they speak for the common person," Cramer said. "The Fed wants the common person to make money." With that backdrop always in mind, Cramer says it becomes…

    CNBC
  • Best Womens Wrinkle Creams 2014

    Mom reveals simple wrinkle solution that has researchers very excited. Try this free solution today to look and feel years younger.

    AdChoicesBellaLabs.comSponsored
  • 6 Things Debt Collectors Wish You Knew

    The work debt collectors do is not popular, and has become increasingly derided by those who don’t like what we do or simply don’t know the facts about debt collection. Too often, debt collection is painted with a broad brush to create a portrait that isn’t accurate, and doesn’t properly educate…

    Credit.com