General Question

moondog's avatar

What is the percentage of the world's immigration that goes to the US?

Asked by moondog (38points) September 29th, 2008

I’m looking for an answer with some sources if possible. I was at a workshop recently where the facilitator informed us that it was 70%. That seems way high to me…any thoughts?

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8 Answers

Harp's avatar

This source puts total worldwide immigration at 191 million (in 2005), with the US receiving 38 million of those, or 20%. That’s the highest percentage of any country, but a far cry from 70%.

girlofscience's avatar

How long do you need to be planning on living somewhere to be considered an immigrant?

For instance, if I took a 3-year contract in Australia, but planned to move back to the US afterward, would I be considered an immigrant?

Harp's avatar

Just a clarification regarding my answer above:

These figures don’t represent the number of people who immigrated in the year 2005; They are the number of people living outside of the country of their birth as of 2005.

moondog's avatar

so looking around little more on the beautiful tubes of the internet, its looks like Harp found the answer for total people living outside their country of birth, and the number of them that live in the US. I did manage to find, for the enjoyment of others who arrive here in the future in the midst of some semi fruitful google search, that the UN says that there is around 2.3 million people each year who move to another country with the intent to live there. The same study says that 1.4 million of them move to “North America.” Other stats indicate that the US gains around 1 million immigrants per year (of course, plenty of people/think tanks are interested in inflating that number to no end, but whatever). So, to conclude, yearly percentage of world immigration that goes to the US might be around 43% or so? Still way less than 70%.

girlofscience's avatar

@moondog: How long does a person need to be planning to live in another country for it to count as “with the intent to live there”?

moondog's avatar

I think thats one of the ways that different think tanks/studies manipulate the numbers. Of course there is no “official” or standard definition of immigration that everyone agrees on. Some of the material I looked at mentioned the criteria of “with intent to live there” and they referred to an “indefinite” intent. Sooo, forever I guess. I would imagine that the UN numbers are lower because they “believe” the people who claim to be in another country temporarily, or for seasonal work or some such.

girlofscience's avatar

Hmmm… In general, I just have such a problem with the idea of “permanent” residences. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t ever plan to live in a country for longer than 10 years. I would like to move to a new country every decade or so. What is a permanent address?

Harp's avatar

Re the 1.4 million to “North America” figure, Canada takes three times as many immigrants as a percentage of existing population (200,000–250,000 annually) than does the US.

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