Gallup: Less than 0.5 Per Cent of Adults Worldwide Actively Preparing to Migrate

Germany - Today the UN Migration Agency (IOM) launched its report, "Measuring Global Migration Potential, 2010-2015", which analyses people´s migration intentions globally for the period 2010–2015.

The findings by IOM’s Global Migration Data Centre (GMDAC) show that less than half a per cent of adults worldwide (23 million) are actively making preparations to migrate abroad. The most popular destination for those planning to migrate is the US followed by the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Canada, Germany and South Africa. One in three adults surveyed plans to migrate to a developing country.

Half of those planning to migrate live in just 20 countries, including Nigeria, India and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the countries with the highest number of adults planning to migrate abroad. West Africa, South Asia and North Africa are the regions with the largest migration potential.

The study is based on international survey data by the Gallup World Poll.

"This unique global survey provides an important insight into people's migration intentions and the profile of those most likely to migrate," said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

The share of the adult population planning to migrate abroad has increased moderately at the global level but more rapidly in certain regions. Adults planning and preparing to migrate are more likely to be male, young, single, living in urban areas and more likely to have completed at least secondary education.

The number of people planning to migrate seems to be a good predictor of actual flows of people as recorded by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Eurostat and UN DESA. Further analysis of migration potential may contribute to developing migration scenarios and forecasting. However, it is important to note that measuring potential migration is not the same as measuring actual migration. There are many reasons why a migration plan may never be realized including policy restrictions, a lack of resources or a change of heart.  

The Gallup World Poll conducts nationally representative surveys in over 160 countries. These surveys provide an indication of who is planning to migrate, which countries have the highest number of potential migrants, and which countries people would like to move to.

IOM Director General Swing added that the new study illuminates one trend that has been emerging for some time, which he explained was the “wide range of countries, both rich and poor, that are attracting migrants."

For further information, please contact Jasper Dag Tjaden, Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), IOM  Berlin, Tel: +49 30 278 778 22, Email: