World’s Not Becoming Melting Pot, This Cool Interactive Infographic Proves It

February 28, 2015 Updated: October 8, 2018

Did you know that 50 percent less people were emigrating from Mexico than from Bangladesh? Or that five times more people moved into Russia than out? Or that millions of people are moving to United Arab Emirates, but no nationals seem to ever leave?

A team at the Austrian Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital mapped how people moved from one country to another between 2005–2010. And then they turned the results into a catchy infographic. (see large format non-interactive version)

Researchers estimate 40 million people moved to different countries in the five year period, or about 0.6 percent of the world’s population.

There are few places experiencing incredible diversity thanks to migration, but overall, people are pretty much staying put.

That doesn’t mean the infographic doesn’t reveal surprising trends.

About 40 percent more people moved to Europe, than to United States, for example. And twice as many people left the United States than left Europe.

Bangladesh, a country wedged between India and Burma, occupies roughly the land mass of Iowa, yet supplied the world with more immigrants than Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador combined.

Still the stream from Latin to North America remains the single largest one-way migration current between two world regions, counting over 3.5 million during the 2005–2010 period.

The numbers, however, are estimates and the authors warn they may not match individual country records. The researchers say it’s because they only count people who moved and stayed in the destination country for a longer time. But a quick look at the numbers reveals there seems to be some data missing.

A number of countries have zero emigration listed in the calculations. Countries like Burundi, Congo, Bahrain, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, and Czech Republic.

Yet the United States alone granted tens of thousands of permanent resident statuses to these countries’ nationals between 2006 and 2010, according to the Homeland Security Department’s 2010 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.

Update: Dr. Nikola Sander from the Vienna Institute of Demography, one of the authors, responded in an email saying the unusually low migration figures stem from the fact that the researchers were looking at population changes over five-year period. “The relatively long period of 5 years means that we inevitably miss migrants who move to another country but return to their origin country within a few years, as is the case with a lot of labour migration and refugee flows,” she stated.

Sander also explained the scientists derived the migration patterns from census data. Thus, for countries like Bahrain, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates “the number of foreigners living in these countries increased substantially, while the number of natives living abroad did not increase,” she stated. “Such changes result in high inflows and very small outflows.”

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