WASHINGTON, D.C. -- About 13% of the world's adults -- or about 630 million people -- say they would like to leave their country and move somewhere else permanently. For roughly 138 million people, that somewhere else would be the U.S. -- the No. 1 desired destination for potential migrants. The U.K., Canada, and France also rank among the top choices for potential migrants.
These findings are based on a rolling average of Gallup interviews with 501,366 adults in 154 countries between 2010 and 2012. The 154 countries represent more than 98% of the world's adult population; 3% of that population would like to relocate to the U.S. permanently.
Approximately 19 Million in China Want to Move to the U.S. Permanently
Potential migrants who would like to move to the U.S. are logically the most likely to come from some of the most populous countries in the world. Roughly 10 million or more adults would like to move to the U.S. permanently from China, Nigeria, and India.
However, other populous countries such as Iran and Pakistan do not have large groups of people who say that they would like to move to the U.S. permanently. Instead, Pakistanis most desire to relocate to Saudi Arabia and the U.K. and Iranians would prefer to move to Jordan or Lebanon. This is not surprising, as Iranians and Pakistanis have some of the lowest U.S. leadership approval ratings in the world.
The percentage of people in each country who would like to move to the U.S. permanently is perhaps more interesting. A staggering 37% of Liberians say that they would like to relocate to the U.S. permanently. One in four adults or more in Sierra Leone, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti would also like to move to the U.S. permanently. Three countries with the highest percentages of people who would like to relocate to the U.S. permanently are in Africa, seven are in Central America and the Caribbean, with the remaining country, Cambodia, in Asia.
The U.S. remains the most popular destination in the world for potential migrants. This is likely because of economic opportunities in the country and the established networks of potential migrants. In addition, the U.S. again tied with Germany in 2012 as the country with the highest leadership approval ratings in the world, but when it comes to a desired place to live permanently, no other country compares with the U.S.
For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact us.
Results are based on aggregated telephone and face-to-face interviews with 501,366 adults, aged 15 and older, in 154 countries from 2010 to 2012. The 154 countries surveyed represent more than 98% 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.