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Indian Diaspora Largest in the World: UN Report

  • 29 Nov 2019
  • 4 min read

Why in News

As per International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM) latest report, ‘Global Migration Report 2020’, India continues to be the largest country of origin of international migrants with a 17.5 million-strong diaspora across the world.

  • India also received the highest remittance of $78.6 billion from Indians living abroad.

Key Points


  • The total number of international migrants in 2019 is now estimated at 270 million.
  • This is a very small percentage of the world’s population (at 3.5%), that is, the vast majority of people globally (96.5%) are estimated to be residing in the country in which they were born.
  • The top destination country remained the United States (50.7 million international migrants).
  • More than half of all international migrants (141 million) live in Europe and North America.
  • The top three countries of origin of international migrants – India (17.5 million) > Mexico (11.8 million) > China (10.7 million).


  • The international remittances increased to $689 billion in 2018.
  • The top three remittance recipients were India ($78.6 billion) > China ($67.4 billion) > Mexico ($35.7 billion).
  • The United States remained the top remittance-sending country ($68 billion) followed by the United Arab Emirates ($44.4 billion) and Saudi Arabia ($36.1 billion).

Reasons for migration 

  • Economic: Apart from U.S., other important migration corridors from poorer countries to richer nations were France, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
    • The Gulf countries have some of the largest numbers of temporary labour migrants in the world, including the United Arab Emirates, where they make up almost 90% of the population.
  • Ongoing conflicts and violence in Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen have led to massive internal displacement in the last two years. A total of 41.3 million people were forced to flee their homes at the end of 2018 — a record since monitoring began in 1998.
  • Syria has the highest internally population of displaced people, at 6.1 million, followed by Colombia (5.8 million) and the Congo (3.1 million).
  • Impact of climate and weather disasters, such as Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines contributed to 3.8 million displaced people, the largest number globally.

International Organisation for Migration

  • IOM, or as it was first known, the Provisional Intergovernmental Committee for the Movement of Migrants from Europe (PICMME), was born in 1951 out of the chaos and displacement of Western Europe following the Second World War.
  • It is the leading inter-governmental organization, working under the mandate of the United Nations, in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.
  • With 173 member states, and further 8 states holding observer status, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants.

Way Forward

These data are critical for understanding the important role of migrants and migration in the development of both countries of origin and destination. Facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people will contribute much to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

Source: TH

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