World Migration Report 2020


World Migration Report 2020 was published by the International Organization for Migration, United Nations, on November 27, 2019. This is the 10th World Migration Report, after the first one in 2000.

Globally, the number of international migrants is estimated to be almost 272 million, of which nearly two-thirds are ‘labour migrants’. This report focuses on ‘developments in migration’ between 2018 and 2020. In these two years, it states, millions of people have been displaced due to violence and conflict, economic and political instability, climate and weather-related hazards, and other reasons. 

The 11-chapter report includes an overview (Chapter 1); ‘Migration and migrants: A global overview’ (Chapter 2); ‘Migration and migrants: Regional dimensions and developments’ (Chapter 3); ‘Migration research and analysis: Growth, reach and recent contributions’ (Chapter 4); ‘Reflections on migrants’ contributions in an era of increasing disruption and disinformation’ (Chapter 5); ‘Migration, inclusion and social cohesion’ (Chapter 6); ‘Migration and Health: Key issues, governance and current knowledge gaps’ (Chapter 7); ‘Children and unsafe migration’ (Chapter 8); ‘Human mobility and adaptation to environmental change’ (Chapter 9); ‘Migrants caught in crises: Contexts, responses and innovation’ (Chapter 10) and ‘Recent developments in the context of global governance of migration’ (Chapter 11).


  1. The estimated number of international migrants for the year 2050 is 230 million people. The report states that the scale and pace of international migration is difficult to precisely predict as it is closely connected to ‘acute events’ (such as economic crisis or conflict) and long-term trends (such as demographic change, economic development and technological advances).

  2. Citing 2015 data by the International Labour Organization, the report states that there is a higher proportion of male (58.4 per cent) international migrant workers than female (41.6 per cent). Males dominate manufacturing and construction jobs, while female migrant workers mainly work in the service sector.

  3. The report states that that there were about 37.9 million migrants under 20 years of age in 2019, and that they accounted for about 14 per cent of the world’s migrants at the time.

  4. In 2019, more than 40 per cent (or 112 million) of all international migrants worldwide were born in Asia. They were primarily from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan.

  5. The report states that in 2019, India had the largest number of migrants living abroad (17.5 million people), followed by Mexico (11.8 million) and China (10.7 million).

  6. In 2019, the top destination country for international migrants was the United States, where there were 50.7 million such migrants.

  7. In 2018, India, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt were – in descending order – the top five ‘remittance-recipient countries’. The ‘inward remittances’ in India and China exceeded $67 billion in both countries.

  8. The report cites data from the World Bank, noting that global remittances amounted to $689 billion in 2018, and that flows to low-income and middle-income countries rose from $483 billion in 2017 to $529 billion in 2018.

  9. In 2018, the countries with the highest number of ‘disaster displacements' – including climate and weather-related events – were Philippines and China (about 3.8 million displaced people, each), and India and the US (about 2.7 and 1.2 million, each).

  10. In 2018, there were 3.9 million stateless persons globally. Bangladesh had the highest number of such persons (906,000 people), followed by Côte d’Ivoire (692,000) and Myanmar (620,000).

  11. Citing 2019 data from the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the report states that Africa has the fastest-growing population in the world and is expected to surpass 2 billion people by 2050.

  12. The report notes that the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic displaced over half of that country’s population, with over 6.6 million refugees and over 6.1 million ‘internally displaced persons’, and produced close to 140,000 asylum-seekers by the end of 2018.

  13. In 2017, four of the 7.4 million refugee children worldwide were out of school. It is important, states the report, to include migrant children in national educational systems.

  14. Citing 2018 data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the report notes that Turkey has committed to include all Syrian refugee children previously attending temporary education centres into its national education system by 2020.

    Focus and Factoids by Archita Joshi.


International Organization for Migration, United Nations


International Organization for Migration, United Nations


27 Nov, 2019