At 17.5 million, Indian diaspora largest in the world

India was the leading country of origin of international migrants in 2019 with a 17.5 million strong diaspora, according to new estimates released by the United Nations, which said the number of migrants globally reached an estimated 272 million.

The International Migrant Stock 2019, a dataset released by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) on September 18, provides the latest estimates of the number of international migrants by age, sex and origin for all countries and areas of the world.

The estimates are based on official national statistics on the foreign-born or the foreign population obtained from population censuses, population registers or nationally representative surveys.

The report said that the top 10 countries of origin account for one-third of all international migrants. In 2019, with 17.5 million persons living abroad, India was the leading country of origin of international migrants.

Migrants from Mexico constituted the second-largest diaspora (11.8 million), followed by China (10.7 million), Russia (10.5 million), Syria (8.2 million), Bangladesh (7.8 million), Pakistan (6.3 million), Ukraine (5.9 million), the Philippines (5.4 million) and Afghanistan (5.1 million).

India hosted 5.1 million international migrants in 2019, less than 5.2 million in 2015. International migrants as a share of the total population in India was steady at 0.4% from 2010 to 2019.

The country hosted 207,000 refugees, the report said, adding that refugees as a share of international migrants in the country were four per cent. Among the international migrants in the country, the female population was 48.8% and the median age of international migrants was 47.1 years.

In India, the highest number of international migrants came from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. In 2019, regionally, Europe hosted the largest number of international migrants (82 million), followed by Northern America (59 million) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (49 million).

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