THE SHIFTING PATTERNS

OF MOVEMENT

MIGRATION WAVES

BY ALBERTO LUCAS LÓPEZ, RYAN WILLIAMS, AND KAYA BERNE

258

MILLION PEOPLE IN 2017 LIVED OUTSIDE THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN.

3%

OF PEOPLE WORLDWIDE

ARE MIGRANTS; THE FIGURE

HAS HELD FOR 50 YEARS.

The ebb and flow of people across

borders has long shaped our world. Data from the past 50 years of international migration help us understand why people make the choice to leave and where they go. Less than 10 percent of these migrants are forced to flee; most are seeking a better life and move only when they can afford to. Global migrants totaled fewer than 100 million in the 1960s, and although the number has increased substantially since then, it remains a fraction of the

world’s 7.6 billion people today.

WHEN IMMIGRATION

IS HIGHER

White indicates more foreign-born residents in a country than people leaving.

Year

Year

Number

of people

1967

2017

Number

of people

COUNTRY

WHEN EMIGRATION

IS HIGHER

Black indicates more people leaving a country than foreign- born residents staying.

Experts at the International Migration Institute of Oxford University have identified different drivers of migration: strong labor markets, migration policies in both source and destination countries, war and conflict,

and economic growth.

STRONG LABOR MARKETS

DRAW MIGRANTS

1987

1967

1977

1997

2007

2017

8.6

million people

UNITED STATES. Some 1.6 million new jobs came with a strong postrecession economy

in the 1990s. In 2002 a slowdown slashed both jobs and immigration.

2.5 M

RUSSIA. An exodus was reversed in the

1970s with the discovery of resources such as oil and gas. The 1991 Soviet collapse brought new arrivals from former republics.

2.7 M

GERMANY. Millions of Eastern Europeans arrived when the Iron Curtain was lifted.

The next surge came in the late 2000s as the robust economy drew migrants and refugees.

3.3 M

U.A.E. Oil wealth, political stability, and a construction boom in the 2000s drew foreign workers. But soon after that, when oil prices fell, many of them left.

1.6 M

SAUDI ARABIA. The 1970s oil boom brought foreign workers to the kingdom. The 1990s saw dwindling oil revenues and a crackdown on undocumented migrants.

2.8 M

SPAIN. Economic growth, rising demand for labor, and integration into what became the EU led to a surge in migrants from develop- ing countries in the 1990s.

.70 M

THAILAND. Migrant workers and refugees are attracted to Thailand’s wages and unfilled jobs. There was a brief outflow in 1992 of refugees who went home to Cambodia.

POLICIES SHIFT

MIGRATION FLOW

1987

1997

2007

1967

1977

2017

2.0 M

UNITED KINGDOM. A change in policies in the 1990s eased restrictions on immigration and asylum. By 2002, a skilled immigrant could get a visa without a job offer.

-2.0 M

ETHIOPIA. The government outlawed emigration in 1981 after famine and revolution forced people out of the country. Many returned once the regime fell, in 1991.

-2.4 M

CHINA. An end to “whites only” policies overseas that had long blocked migration, and emigration reforms at home in the 1980s opened the world to Chinese workers.

INSTABILITY FORCES

PEOPLE OUT

1987

1997

2007

1967

1977

2017

-1.3 M

RWANDA. Nearly two million Rwandans fled during the genocide that took some 800,000 lives in 1994. The conflict fueled war in the Dem. Rep. of the Congo.

-1.3 M

NIGERIA. A violent uprising in the 1980s curbed migrant arrivals and prompted departures. Today terrorist groups such as Boko Haram are spurring outflow.

-.63 M

IRAQ. Instability following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion displaced millions of Iraqis. More recently, Iraq has taken in some 250,000 refugees from war-torn Syria.

-1.1

SUDAN. Refugees from neighboring countries have contributed to Sudan’s inflows, but cycles of civil war in the mid-1990s created greater net outflows.

-3.3 M

AFGHANISTAN. The Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion sent millions into Pakistan and elsewhere in the region. Many later returned, only to face further violence.

-4.2 M

SYRIA. Unrest and civil war have pushed millions into countries such as Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Syria’s outflow in 2012 is mirrored in Turkey’s inflow.

POVERTY IMMOBILIZES, MONEY MAKES MOVING POSSIBLE

1987

1967

1977

1997

2007

2017

-0.9 M

VIETNAM. Economic growth since the end of the war, in 1975, has spurred in- and out- migration. Nearly half the four million Vietnamese living abroad are in the U.S.

-2.9 M

MEXICO. Higher incomes have encouraged many to seek U.S. jobs. Factors such as a weak U.S. market and stronger border enforce- ment after the 9/11 attacks slowed migration.

-3.6 M

BANGLADESH. Millions fled conflict in the 1970s, and in the 1980s millions more began to leave for work in the Gulf states. Remittances from overseas fuel the economy.

MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE

BETWEEN COUNTRIES is a significant symbol in an increasingly interconnected global culture and economy. World Bank data showing this “migration balance” for 193 countries are visualized below. Rankings proceed from from the country with the highest immigration (top)

to the country with the

highest emigration (bottom).*

1967

1977

1987

1997

2007

2017

UNITED STATES

RUSSIA

GERMANY

CANADA

U.A.E.

SAUDI ARABIA

AUSTRALIA

SPAIN

U.K.

FRANCE

SOUTH AFRICA

ITALY

MALAYSIA

JAPAN

THAILAND

SINGAPORE

JORDAN

QATAR

TURKEY

CÔTE D'IVOIRE

OMAN

SWITZERLAND

ISRAEL

KUWAIT

SWEDEN

BELGIUM

NETHERLANDS

GREECE

AUSTRIA

IRAN

LEBANON

SOUTH SUDAN

BAHRAIN

NORWAY

DENMARK

NEW ZEALAND

SOUTH KOREA

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

COSTA RICA

CZECHIA

ARGENTINA

BELARUS

FINLAND

CYPRUS

GABON

IRELAND

LUXEMBOURG

DJIBOUTI

SLOVENIA

UKRAINE

ANGOLA

DEM. REP. OF THE CONGO

CONGO

BOTSWANA

HUNGARY

CHAD

THE BAHAMAS

MALDIVES

PANAMA

BRAZIL

BRUNEI

CHILE

MALTA

ICELAND

BHUTAN

MAURITANIA

ETHIOPIA

BELIZE

VANUATU

SEYCHELLES

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

ESTONIA

SIERRA LEONE

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

THE GAMBIA

KIRIBATI

BARBADOS

TOGO

SOLOMON ISLANDS

ST. LUCIA

NAMIBIA

SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

COMOROS

MICRONESIA

GRENADA

ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

TONGA

NORTH KOREA

KENYA

BENIN

MADAGASCAR

ZAMBIA

LIBERIA

ESWATINI

MONTENEGRO

SAMOA

VENEZUELA

SLOVAKIA

CABO VERDE

MAURITIUS

PORTUGAL

SURINAME

MONGOLIA

LATVIA

TUNISIA

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

CAMEROON

TURKMENISTAN

NIGER

GUINEA-BISSAU

TANZANIA

CROATIA

FIJI

LIBYA

MOLDOVA

ECUADOR

LESOTHO

NORTH MACEDONIA

MALAWI

LITHUANIA

TIMOR-LESTE

RWANDA

CAMBODIA

HONDURAS

URUGUAY

AZERBAIJAN

UGANDA

PARAGUAY

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

SOMALIA

GUYANA

YEMEN

ERITREA

BOLIVIA

GHANA

SERBIA

SENEGAL

KYRGYZSTAN

GUINEA

LAOS

UZBEKISTAN

ARMENIA

TAJIKISTAN

BULGARIA

MOZAMBIQUE

JAMAICA

ALBANIA

NICARAGUA

NIGERIA

IRAQ

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

HAITI

BURUNDI

ZIMBABWE

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

POLAND

CUBA

BURKINA FASO

ALGERIA

SUDAN

GEORGIA

MALI

GUATEMALA

COLOMBIA

EL SALVADOR

PERU

NEPAL

ROMANIA

EGYPT

SRI LANKA

AFGHANISTAN

KAZAKHSTAN

VIETNAM

PAKISTAN

INDONESIA

MYANMAR

MOROCCO

SYRIA

PHILIPPINES

INDIA

CHINA

MEXICO

BANGLADESH

1967

1977

1987

1997

2007

2017

 *NET MIGRATION DATA BASED ON CURRENT COUNTRY BORDERS. DATA QUALITY VARIES FROM COUNTRY TO COUNTRY.

SOURCES: WORLD BANK; IOM; UNHCR; ILO; MIGRATION POLICY INSTITUTE; PEW RESEARCH CENTER; SONJA FRANSEN AND HEIN DE HAAS, INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION INSTITUTE

THE SHIFTING PATTERNS OF MOVEMENT

MIGRATION WAVES

BY ALBERTO LUCAS LÓPEZ, RYAN WILLIAMS, AND KAYA BERNE

258

3%

MILLION PEOPLE IN

OF PEOPLE WORLDWIDE

2017 LIVED OUTSIDE

ARE MIGRANTS; THE

THEIR COUNTRY

FIGURE HAS HELD

OF ORIGIN.

FOR 50 YEARS.

The ebb and flow of people across borders has long shaped our world. Data from the past 50 years of international migration help us understand why people make the choice to leave and where they go. Less than 10 percent of these migrants are forced to flee; most are seeking a better life and move only when they can afford to. Global migrants totaled fewer than 100 million in the 1960s, and although the number has increased substantially since then, it remains a fraction of the

world’s 7.6 billion people today.

WHEN

IMMIGRATION

IS HIGHER

White indicates

more foreign-born residents in a country than people leaving.

Year

Year

Number of people

1967

2017

Number of people

COUNTRY

WHEN

EMIGRATION

IS HIGHER

Black indicates

more people leaving a country than foreign-

born residents staying.

Experts at the International Migration Institute of Oxford University have identified different drivers of migration: strong labor markets, migration policies in both source and destination countries, war and conflict, and economic growth.

STRONG LABOR MARKETS DRAW MIGRANTS

1967

1972

1977

1982

1987

1992

1997

2002

2007

2012

2017

4

3

2

8.6

1

million people

0

UNITED STATES. Some 1.6 million new jobs came with a strong postrecession economy in the 1990s. In 2002 a slowdown slashed both jobs and immigration.

2.5 M

RUSSIA. An exodus was reversed in the 1970s with the discovery of resources such as oil and gas. The 1991 Soviet collapse brought new arrivals from former republics.

2.7 M

GERMANY. Millions of Eastern Europeans arrived when the Iron Curtain was lifted. The next surge came in the late 2000s as the robust economy drew migrants and refugees.

3.3 M

U.A.E. Oil wealth, political stability, and a construction boom in the 2000s drew foreign workers. But soon after that, when oil prices fell, many of them left.

1.6 M

SAUDI ARABIA. The 1970s oil boom brought foreign workers to the kingdom. The 1990s saw dwindling oil revenues and a crackdown on undocumented migrants.

2.8 M

SPAIN. Economic growth, rising demand for labor, and integration into what became the EU led to a surge in migrants from developing countries in the 1990s.

.70 M

THAILAND. Migrant workers and refugees are attracted to Thailand’s wages and unfilled jobs. There was a brief outflow in 1992 of refugees who went home to Cambodia.

POLICIES SHIFT MIGRATION FLOW

1972

1982

1987

1992

1997

2007

1967

1977

2002

2012

2017

2.0 M

UNITED KINGDOM. A change in policies in the 1990s eased restrictions on immigration and asylum. By 2002, a skilled immigrant could get a visa without a job offer.

-2.0 M

ETHIOPIA. The government outlawed emigration in 1981 after famine and revolution forced people out of the country. Many returned once the regime fell, in 1991.

-2.4 M

CHINA. An end to “whites only” policies overseas that had long blocked migration, and emigration reforms at home in the 1980s opened the world to Chinese workers.

INSTABILITY FORCES PEOPLE OUT

1972

1982

1987

1992

1997

2002

2007

1967

1977

2012

2017

-1.3 M

RWANDA. Nearly two million Rwandans fled during the genocide that took some 800,000 lives in 1994. The conflict fueled war in the Dem. Rep. of the Congo.

.85 M

NIGERIA. A violent uprising in the 1980s curbed migrant arrivals and prompted departures. Today terrorist groups such as Boko Haram are spurring outflow.

-.63 M

IRAQ. Instability following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion displaced millions of Iraqis. More recently, Iraq has taken in some 250,000 refugees from war-torn Syria.

-1.1 M

SUDAN. Refugees from neighboring countries have contributed to Sudan’s inflows, but cycles of civil war in the mid-1990s created greater net outflows.

-3.3 M

AFGHANISTAN. The Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion sent millions into Pakistan and elsewhere in the region. Many later returned, only to face further violence.

-4.2 M

SYRIA. Unrest and civil war have pushed millions into countries such as Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Syria’s outflow in 2012 is mirrored in Turkey’s inflow.

POVERTY IMMOBILIZES, MONEY MAKES MOVING POSSIBLE

1967

1972

1977

1982

1987

1992

1997

2002

2007

2012

2017

-0.9 M

VIETNAM. Economic growth since the end of the war, in 1975, has spurred

in- and out-migration. Nearly half the four million Vietnamese living abroad are in the U.S.

-2.9 M

MEXICO. Higher incomes have encouraged many to seek U.S. jobs. Factors such as a weak U.S. market and stronger border enforcement after the 9/11 attacks slowed migration.

-3.6 M

BANGLADESH. Millions fled conflict in the 1970s, and in the 1980s millions more began to leave for work in the Gulf states. Remittances from overseas fuel the economy.

MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE BETWEEN COUNTRIES is a significant symbol in an increasingly interconnected global culture and economy. World Bank data showing this “migration balance” for 193 countries are visualized below. Rankings proceed from the country with the highest immigration (top) to the country with

the highest emigration (bottom).*

1967

1972

1977

1982

1987

1992

1997

2002

2007

2012

2017

UNITED STATES

RUSSIA

GERMANY

CANADA

U.A.E.

SAUDI ARABIA

AUSTRALIA

SPAIN

U.K.

FRANCE

SOUTH AFRICA

ITALY

MALAYSIA

JAPAN

THAILAND

SINGAPORE

JORDAN

QATAR

TURKEY

CÔTE D'IVOIRE

OMAN

SWITZERLAND

ISRAEL

KUWAIT

SWEDEN

BELGIUM

NETHERLANDS

GREECE

AUSTRIA

IRAN

LEBANON

SOUTH SUDAN

BAHRAIN

NORWAY

DENMARK

NEW ZEALAND

SOUTH KOREA

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

COSTA RICA

CZECHIA

ARGENTINA

BELARUS

FINLAND

CYPRUS

GABON

IRELAND

LUXEMBOURG

DJIBOUTI

SLOVENIA

UKRAINE

ANGOLA

DEM. REP. OF THE CONGO

CONGO

BOTSWANA

HUNGARY

CHAD

THE BAHAMAS

MALDIVES

PANAMA

BRAZIL

BRUNEI

CHILE

MALTA

ICELAND

BHUTAN

MAURITANIA

ETHIOPIA

BELIZE

VANUATU

SEYCHELLES

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

ESTONIA

SIERRA LEONE

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

THE GAMBIA

KIRIBATI

BARBADOS

TOGO

SOLOMON ISLANDS

ST. LUCIA

NAMIBIA

SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

COMOROS

MICRONESIA

GRENADA

ST. VINCENT AND

THE GRENADINES

TONGA

NORTH KOREA

KENYA

BENIN

MADAGASCAR

ZAMBIA

LIBERIA

ESWATINI

MONTENEGRO

SAMOA

VENEZUELA

SLOVAKIA

CABO VERDE

MAURITIUS

PORTUGAL

SURINAME

MONGOLIA

LATVIA

TUNISIA

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

CAMEROON

TURKMENISTAN

NIGER

GUINEA-BISSAU

TANZANIA

CROATIA

FIJI

LIBYA

MOLDOVA

ECUADOR

LESOTHO

NORTH MACEDONIA

MALAWI

LITHUANIA

TIMOR-LESTE

RWANDA

CAMBODIA

HONDURAS

URUGUAY

AZERBAIJAN

UGANDA

PARAGUAY

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

SOMALIA

GUYANA

YEMEN

ERITREA

BOLIVIA

GHANA

SERBIA

SENEGAL

KYRGYZSTAN

GUINEA

LAOS

UZBEKISTAN

ARMENIA

TAJIKISTAN

BULGARIA

MOZAMBIQUE

JAMAICA

ALBANIA

NICARAGUA

NIGERIA

IRAQ

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

HAITI

BURUNDI

ZIMBABWE

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

POLAND

CUBA

BURKINA FASO

ALGERIA

SUDAN

GEORGIA

MALI

GUATEMALA

COLOMBIA

EL SALVADOR

PERU

NEPAL

ROMANIA

EGYPT

SRI LANKA

AFGHANISTAN

KAZAKHSTAN

VIETNAM

PAKISTAN

INDONESIA

MYANMAR

MOROCCO

SYRIA

PHILIPPINES

INDIA

CHINA

MEXICO

BANGLADESH

1967

1972

1977

1982

1987

1992

1997

2002

2007

2012

2017

 *NET MIGRATION DATA BASED ON CURRENT COUNTRY BORDERS. DATA QUALITY VARIES FROM COUNTRY

TO COUNTRY. SOURCES: WORLD BANK; IOM; UNHCR; ILO; MIGRATION POLICY INSTITUTE; PEW RESEARCH CENTER; SONJA FRANSEN AND HEIN DE HAAS, INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION INSTITUTE

Learn more about the mass migrations that define our age.