Migration is a phenomenon which exists ever since, and it has been caused by different reasons and historical events too.

Today we tend to refer to the people who chose to go living abroad, based on only their own decision, as Expats. Even if the term is not entirely correct, we´ll see it later.

Let’s start with some definitions to make the difference more clear:

  • An emigrant is a person who is leaving one country to live in another.
  • An immigrant is a person who is entering a country from another to make a new home.
  • A refugee is a person who has moved to a new country because of a problem in their former home.

Of course the person moving is both an immigrant and an emigrant, depending upon whether the person speaking or writing the word lives in the home country or the destination country.

For this first part of the article I´ll then use the words (e)(im)-migrant, also I need to underline that as long as I know the numbers I am sharing include refugees.

Since 2020 IOM has produced migration reports, which make us understand better how the world looks nowadays, in terms of multiculturality and, hopefully, integration.

The current global estimate is that there were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020, which equates to 3.6 per cent of the global population.

In Short, only 1 in 30 people is a migrant, and joined an expat life.

Have you already watched my You Tube video on the topic immigration or expatriation?

Where do the migrants mainly go?

It is a fair question, and guess what? We have an answer!

Following the data from IOM, Europe and Asia host about 61% of the migrant population. Followed by North America.

Top 10 Countries for number of Immigrants (people who enter the country) (2020):

  1. United States — 50.6 = 15% of the total population
  2. Germany — 15.8 million = 18% of the total population
  3. Saudi Arabia — 13.5 million =  38,65% of total population
  4. Russia — 11.6 million 7,97% = of the total population
  5. United Kingdom — 9.4 million =  13% of total population
  6. United Arab Emirates — 8.7 million =  88% of total population
  7. France — 8.5 million = 13% of total population
  8. Canada — 8.0 million = 31% of total population
  9. Australia — 7.7 million = 30% of total population
  10. Spain — 6.8 million = 14% of total population

Italy is 11th in this list with 6,386.998 immigrants which is more or less the 10% of the total population

Netherlands is 28th with 2,358,333 which is more or less the 13% of the total population.

Following the top 10 countries with the highest number of emigrants (so people who leaves the country) (2020):

  1. India — 17.9 million
  2. Mexico — 11.1 million
  3. Russia — 10.8 million
  4. China — 10.5 million
  5. Syria — 8.5 million
  6. Bangladesh — 7.4 million
  7. Pakistan — 6.3 million
  8. Ukraine — 6.1 million
  9. Philippines — 6.1 million
  10. Afghanistan — 5.9 million

And now the big question which sometimes creates some misunderstanding when talking.

What is the difference between an expat and a migrant?

Let’s start with the definitions:

  • Expatriate: someone who lives outside of their native country
  • Immigrant: someone who comes to live permanently in another country

So, the difference is in the timing. For how long are you planning to live somewhere else? What is permanently in this case? Can a 30 years plan be considered permanent in the life of someone?

There is only one thing I am sure of when it comes to talk about immigrants, we should stop using it with a negative meaning and to, wrongly, define a specific group of people based on birth-country, skin colour and stuff like this. I am a white woman, I come from Italy and so I am a European citizen. I am educated, I have a degree and I don´t come from poverty. Even though I am an immigrant (since I am planning to dont go back to Italy) by definition.

What do these numbers tell you about the migration phenomenon? Would you like to discuss more?
Please, reach me out