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International Connections Fan Desire to Migrate

International Connections Fan Desire to Migrate

by Neli Esipova and Julie Ray

WASHINGTON, D. C. -- Gallup's data on international migration desires in 146 countries continue to reinforce the important role that transnational social networks play in migration. Adults who can rely on help from friends and family in other countries when they need it are nearly three times more likely to say they would like to migrate (30%) than those who do not have these types of networks (11%).

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These findings on adults' desire to move to other countries are based on a rolling average of Gallup's interviews with 401,490 adults in 146 countries between 2008 and 2010. The 146 countries represent more than 93% of the world's adult population.

Regardless of whether a country's development is high or low, Gallup finds people with links to family or friends abroad are more likely to want to move permanently to another country. These links are among the main influencers of adults' desire to migrate, particularly in Asia, where people with these networks are more than three times as likely to say they would like to move to another country than those who do not have these types of networks (26% vs. 7%, respectively).

Remittances Linked to Migration Desire

Gallup surveys conducted in 2010 revealed that adults who receive help from abroad in reality -- not hypothetically -- through remittances are also more likely to find the idea of moving to another country desirable. Among those whose households receive remittances from another country, 36% say they would like to relocate permanently, while 12% of those who do not receive this type of help say they would like to move to another country.


Social support networks continue to play an important role in the migration process, from pre-departure to arrival and, ultimately, to integration. Gallup data show these family, friends, and community networks are a key influencer of people's desire to migrate -- one that cuts across socio-economic, geographical, and cultural boundaries worldwide.

Whether these networks have as strong a relationship to the actual decision-making, planning, and preparation stages requires further study, but do they appear to make the idea of migration more attractive.

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact or call 202.715.3030.

Survey Methods

Results are based on aggregated telephone and face-to-face interviews with 401,490 adults, aged 15 and older, in 146 countries from 2008 to 2010. The 146 countries surveyed represent 93% of the world's adult population. One can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error for the entire sample, accounting for weighting and sample design, is less than ±1 percentage point.

For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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