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Few Migrants Worldwide Want to Come Home
World

Few Migrants Worldwide Want to Come Home

by Neli Esipova, Julie Ray and Anita Pugliese
Few Migrants Worldwide Want to Come Home

Story Highlights

  • 7% of first-generation migrants would like to return to their birth country
  • 77% of migrants do not want to leave their adopted country
  • 16% if migrants would like to move to another country

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In his inaugural speech in 2019, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky implored Ukrainians abroad to come home -- and to bring their knowledge, experience and values with them. But Gallup data show how tough of a sell this is, not just for the Ukrainian diaspora, but for most migrants.

The strong majority of migrants (77%) say they would like to stay right where they are. Few would like to move again, and if they did, it wouldn't be back home. Sixteen percent of migrants say they would like to move to another country, and less than half of that -- 7% -- say they would like to return to the country of their birth.

At least 80% of migrants from a host of countries, including Ukraine and several others in conflict such as Iraq and Yemen, have no desire to leave their adopted countries and move home or anywhere else. But the list notably also includes countries such as Portugal, which is desperately trying to get Portuguese living abroad to return home in order to maintain a stable working population.

Migrants Least Likely to Want to Migrate Again
First-generation migrant by country of birth
Do not want to move Want to move to another country Want to move to home country
% % %
Greece 90 7 3
Uzbekistan 88 11 2
Malaysia 87 9 4
United Kingdom 87 8 5
Portugal 86 6 8
Palestinian Territories 84 13 3
Iraq 84 15 1
Poland 83 15 2
Belarus 83 10 7
Kazakhstan 82 17 1
Yemen 80 14 5
Bosnia and Herzegovina 80 19 1
Ukraine 80 18 2
Countries with at least 300 first-generation migrants in sample
Based on Gallup World Poll 2010-2018

Some of these countries, again including Ukraine, will likely find it very difficult to lure their diaspora home. The percentages of migrants from these countries who want to return home are all in the low single digits.

Migrants Least Likely to Want to Return Home
First-generation migrants by country of birth
Want to move to home country
%
Greece 3
Serbia 3
Georgia 3
Palestinian Territories 3
Pakistan 3
China 3
Congo (Kinshasa) 3
Indonesia 2
Philippines 2
Poland 2
Ukraine 2
Uzbekistan 2
Iran 1
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1
Iraq 1
Kazakhstan 1
Countries with at least 300 first-generation migrants in sample
Based on Gallup World Poll 2010-2018

At the same time, there are countries that would find it much easier to bring their diaspora home. Saudi migrants are the most likely to say that they would like to return home (30%), but sizable numbers of Australians (21%) and Turks (20%) would like to come home. Americans abroad also make the cut; 15% would like to return home.

Migrants Most Likely to Want to Return Home
First-generation migrants by country of birth
Want to move to home country
%
Saudi Arabia 30
Australia 21
Turkey 20
Mali 16
United States 15
France 15
Countries with at least 300 first-generation migrants in sample
Based on Gallup World Poll 2010-2018

Implications

Many leaders like Zelensky who want their former compatriots to return home and bring the skills, knowledge and other experiences they've attained abroad face a tough battle. Most migrants say they don't want to come home. Although the reasons why migrants left their countries in the first place may not have been of the leaders' own making, leaders must still find compelling reasons for migrants to return and create policies that encourage returnees' investment in their home country and reintegration into the labor market.

Future articles and analysis will delve deeper into the demographics and the wellbeing of migrants who want to come home versus those who want to stay.

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

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Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/271526/few-migrants-worldwide-home.aspx
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