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Thursday, November 5, 2009

What 700 Million Migrants Could Do

We've been flooded this week with interest in our findings on migration desires around the world -- specifically, the finding that about 700 million people around the world would like to permanently move to another country if given the chance.

The question asks specifically: "Ideally, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move permanently to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country?" The distinction between ideally wanting to move and actually moving is a big one.

As our Neli Esipova and Julie Ray put it: "If all adults who desire to move to another country permanently actually moved to their desired destination country today, some countries would suffer tremendous losses in human capital and others would be overwhelmed." They then reveal the five countries that would -- in the respondents' ideal world -- see the biggest population boosts, and the five that would see the biggest decreases.

While 24% of potential migrants said they would like to move to the U.S. -- far more than said so about any other country -- the U.S. did not make the top five list in terms of potential population growth. Friday, we'll release the entire list of countries in this study and their Potential Net Migration Index values -- for a complete picture of what could happen if every adult worldwide who had the desire to move to another country actually got that chance.

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