India has the largest diaspora population in the world, says UN report

16 million Indians live outside the country they were born in

Alexandra Sims
Thursday 14 January 2016 18:01
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ndian street vendors sell toys during a religious procession passing by the old districts of New Delhi
ndian street vendors sell toys during a religious procession passing by the old districts of New Delhi

India has the largest diaspora population in the world, with 16 million Indians living outside the country they were born in, according to United Nations report on migration trends.

The survey, conducted by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, found 224 million people lived as international migrants, or in a country other to the one they were born in, in 2015 - a 41 per cent increase from 2000.

Twenty million of these migrants are refugees, the survey found.

Jan Eliasson, the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations said refugees had been included for "statistical correctness” despite there being a “different legal regime” for them to migrants.

“Not included in this figure […] are around 40 million internally displaced people – refugees inside a country,” he added.

The richest Indian diaspora is in the US, where Indians counted for the third-largest ethnic group in 2015, making one per cent of the total US population.

Mexico had the second largest diaspora population at 12 million, followed by Russia and China.

Two-thirds of all international migrants lived in only 20 countries - predominantly the US, which hosted 47 million, or a fifth, of all migrants - followed by Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Britain, and the United Arab Emirates.

The UN data also revealed the number of international migrants has grown faster than the world's population, with the share of migrants in the global population reaching 3.3 per cent in 2015.

“What I found particularly interesting is how important migration has been for population growth, which is sorely needed in certain parts of the world,” said Mr Eliasson.

“In Europe, the size of the population would have fallen between 2000 to 2015, in the absence of positive net migration, so here is something related to what I would call the positive narrative about migration and refugees – the contribution to the demographics […] and of course what they do in terms of remittances.”

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