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Newest Potential Net Migration Index Shows Gains and Losses
World

Newest Potential Net Migration Index Shows Gains and Losses

by Neli Esipova, Julie Ray and Anita Pugliese
Newest Potential Net Migration Index Shows Gains and Losses

Story Highlights

  • Most countries refusing to sign the migration pact could see losses
  • Northern America, Europe, and Australia, New Zealand would see gains
  • The United Kingdom has lost much of its appeal as a desired destination

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Many U.N. member states are expected to formally adopt the legally nonbinding global migration compact in Morocco this week, minus a number of mostly European countries and the United States, Australia and Israel.

While critics of the agreement fear it would open the doors to unchecked mass migration, Gallup's latest Potential Net Migration Index (PNMI) actually shows that in most of the countries that are refusing to sign, more people want to leave them than come to them.

Hungary, for example, which became the second country after the U.S. to withdraw from the compact, could see its total adult population shrink by as much as 16% if everyone around the world moved where they wanted.

At the same time, more popular destination countries such as the U.S., Australia and Switzerland would see their populations boom. The U.S. adult population would increase by 46%, Australia's by 179% and Switzerland's by 187%.

Gallup's Potential Net Migration Index
Countries that have either rejected or delayed adopting global migration compact
Potential Net Migration Index
%
Switzerland 187
Australia 179
United States 46
Austria 44
Israel 16
Czech Republic -5
Italy -8
Latvia -8
Bulgaria -12
Slovakia -12
Poland -13
Hungary -16
Dominican Republic -30
Potential change to the adult population through out- and in-migration, based on expressed desire
Gallup World Poll, 2015-2017

See how your country would change if everyone moved where they wanted, and find out more about how Gallup arrives at these estimates at its Migration Research Center.

Gallup's latest PNMI results include 152 countries or areas surveyed between 2015 and 2017 -- which overlaps the timing of the European migrant crisis -- and are based on nearly half a million interviews. The index itself is the estimated number of adults who say they would like to move permanently out of a country if the opportunity arose subtracted from the estimated number who say they would like to move into it, as a proportion of the total adult population.

While Gallup's PNMI does not predict migration patterns, it does provide useful information about the people these countries are attracting around the world and the areas where leaders need to work to ensure they retain the talent already at home.

The Global View

Looking at the broader picture beyond the countries that are backing out of the migration pact, more people worldwide desired to migrate between 2015 and 2017 than was true immediately after the Great Recession. But as in most years, Gallup's PNMI shows adult populations would still only continue to grow in Northern America, Europe (in both the European Union and non-EU countries), and Australia, New Zealand and Oceania if everyone moved where they wanted.

The populations in all other major regions -- sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and Asia -- would shrink.

Gallup's Potential Net Migration Index
Potential change to the adult population through out- and in-migration, based on expressed desire
2010-2012 2015-2017
% %
Australia/New Zealand/Oceania 138 190*
Northern America 53 57
Europe (non-European Union) 31 52*
European Union 20 24*
Southeast Asia -3 -2
East Asia -6 -5
Middle East and North Africa 2 -6*
South Asia -8 -7
Commonwealth of Independent States -11 -10
Latin America and the Caribbean -14 -20*
Sub-Saharan Africa -24 -26
* Indicates significant change
Gallup World Poll

Compared with index scores between 2010 and 2012, Australia, New Zealand and Oceania; the EU; and non-EU-member states in Europe are more attractive now than they were before. Scores fell significantly in two regions, Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The change in MENA notably went from +2% to -6% within the period, meaning a net loss for the region.

However, it is important to look beyond these broad, regional patterns and focus on scores at the country level because they don't always mimic the region as a whole. For example, while sub-Saharan Africa overall scores a -26% PNMI, scores in the region are not all negative: Botswana's score is 35%. And in non-EU countries in Europe, scores ranged from +187 in Switzerland (also the highest PNMI score in Europe) to -42% in Kosovo.

Notable Increases, Declines in the European Union

Within the European Union, PNMI scores increased significantly in Germany and a host of other countries, coinciding with improving economic conditions and the massive influx of migrants and refugees into the region in 2015 and the years that followed. Scores in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden all increased significantly between 2015 and 2017.

Gallup's Potential Net Migration Index in EU Member States
Potential change to the adult population through out- and in-migration, based on expressed desire
2010-2012 2015-2017
% %
Luxembourg 95 131
Sweden 60 98*
Denmark 31 91*
Malta 18 58*
Ireland 33 48
Germany 23 45*
Austria 32 44*
France 37 44*
Portugal 2 40*
Finland 25 38*
United Kingdom 53 37*
Spain 43 36*
Netherlands 17 29
Montenegro -5 25
Belgium 13 17
Cyprus 67 13*
Czech Republic 67 -5*
Croatia -11 -6
Greece -7 -7
Italy 10 -8*
Latvia -20 -8*
Slovenia -15 -10
Estonia -19 -11
Bulgaria -14 -12
Slovakia -14 -12
Poland -14 -13
Hungary -21 -16*
Romania -27 -22
Lithuania -23 -23
* Denotes significant change
Gallup World Poll, 2015-2017

Elsewhere in the European Union, the United Kingdom lost much of its appeal as a desired destination, with its PNMI score dropping from 53% to 37%. Italy's score dropped from +10% to -8% -- preceding the election of the country's anti-immigrant leadership -- and Cyprus' score declined from 67% to 13%.

Notably, Hungary's score of -16% in the latest survey period is an improvement over its score of -21% between 2010 and 2012, but this is because more Hungarians want to stay, rather than more potential migrants suddenly wanting to come to the country.

Venezuela Leads Losses in Latin America

The PNMI scores for Latin America as a whole continued to worsen in the most recent analysis period, dropping to -20%. Changes in populous countries such as Venezuela, which has teetered on the edge of economic and political collapse since 2013, are largely behind the sinking scores in the region. The country's PNMI dropped from -9% between 2010 and 2012 to -31% between 2015 and 2017. Negative scores in Mexico nearly doubled, and they nearly tripled in Brazil, likely reflecting the ongoing political and economic turmoil in those countries.

Gallup's Potential Net Migration Index in Latin America
Potential change to the adult population through out- and in-migration, based on expressed desire
2010-2012 2015-2017
% %
Costa Rica 8 25*
Uruguay -2 5
Argentina -5 -2
Chile -17 -5*
Paraguay -13 -8
Ecuador -12 -15
Bolivia -22 -17
Mexico -11 -20*
Nicaragua -25 -23
Brazil -8 -23*
Colombia -29 -25
Guatemala -28 -29
Dominican Republic -46 -30
Venezuela -9 -31*
Peru -31 -31
Honduras -36 -34
El Salvador -33 -40
Haiti -52 -63*
* Denotes significant change
Gallup World Poll

Conflict Hurts Net Migration in MENA

In the 2015 to 2017 period, PNMI scores for the Middle East and North Africa region dropped to -6%. While scores in Gulf Cooperation Council countries continued to be positive and high, countries such as Saudi Arabia lost some of their allure, with its score dropping from 221% to 90%. Falling index scores in conflict-ravaged Syria (-44%), Iraq (-29%) and Libya (-16%) contributed to the lower score for the region.

Gallup's Potential Net Migration Index in the Middle East and North Africa
Potential change to the adult population through out- and in-migration, based on expressed desire
2010-2012 2015-2017
% %
United Arab Emirates 712 204*
Kuwait 205 169*
Saudi Arabia 221 90*
Bahrain 45 41
Israel 3 16*
Turkey -9 -9
Lebanon -8 -11
Iran -13 -16
Libya 12 -16*
Yemen -28 -18
Jordan -4 -19*
Morocco -23 -19
Palestinian Territories -19 -20
Egypt -14% -25*
Tunisia -23% -27
Iraq -16% -29*
Algeria -25% -31*
Syria -28% -44*
* Denotes significant change; Note: Surveys in Gulf Cooperation Council countries before 2013 did not include non-Arab expatriates.
Gallup World Poll

Implications

While Gallup's findings reflect people's wishes rather than their intentions, they still provide useful information about how populations could change, not only in sheer numbers but also in their human capital.

These data also show that people's wishes are sensitive to what's going on around the world, from economic meltdowns, to civil war, to changes in leadership and attitudes toward migrants. Leaders need to be mindful of this when they are developing strategies to attract and retain talent.

Dato Tsabutashvili contributed to this analysis.

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

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