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Migrants' Desire to Move Again Hinges on Where, How They Live
World

Migrants' Desire to Move Again Hinges on Where, How They Live

by Julie Ray, Neli Esipova, and Anita Pugliese
Migrants' Desire to Move Again Hinges on Where, How They Live

Most migrants around the world would like to stay where they are, and few would like to move again -- and if they did, very few would like to move back home. Gallup finds this is true of migrants living in every part of the world. However, a new analysis shows that these desires depend largely on where migrants are living now, where they came from and what their lives are like in their adopted countries.

Desire to Migrate Among Migrants Who Live in Different Regions
Among first-generation migrants living in these regions
Migrants who want to stay Migrants who want to move to another country Migrants who want to move home
Sub-Saharan Africa 64 28 8
European Union 69 22 9
Latin America and the Caribbean 71 17 13
Middle East and North Africa 74 19 7
Europe-Other 78 16 7
Commonwealth of Independent States 81 14 6
Northern America 85 11 4
Rest of Asia 86 13 2
Australia-New Zealand 88 9 4
Gallup World Poll, 2010-2018

Like other migrants around the world, the majority of migrants living in sub-Saharan Africa still want to stay in their adopted countries. However, the 64% of migrants who want to stay is the lowest percentage in the world, and the 28% who would like to move somewhere else (except home) is the highest in the world. Just 8% would like to move home.

While these numbers may not be that surprising, interestingly enough, the numbers in sub-Saharan Africa aren't that much different among migrants in the European Union. Sixty-nine percent of migrants living in the EU would like to stay where they are, while 22% would like to move to another country and a much smaller 9% would like to move home.

The common thread that ties both of these seemingly disparate regions together is that they are both home to substantial intraregional migration. However, there are big differences in where migrants in these regions would like to move to. The majority of migrants in the EU would like to move to another EU country and the majority of migrants who live in sub-Saharan Africa want to leave the region and go to Northern America or Western Europe.

Northern America and Australia-New Zealand -- both high-receiving regions for migrants with lower percentages of intraregional migration -- are on the other end of the spectrum. The percentages of migrants who want to stay are the highest in the world, and extremely few want to move home.

"Thriving" Doesn't Equal "Staying"

At the global level, migrants who want to remain in their adopted country (40%) are more likely to rate their lives positively enough to be considered "thriving" than those who want to go home (37%) or move to another country (30%). However, the global numbers mask some interesting regional differences.

Life Evaluations and Desire to Migrate
Among first-generation migrants living within these regions
Thriving Suffering
% %
Australia-New Zealand
Migrants who want to stay 62 2
Migrants who want to move to another country 56 2
Migrants who want to move home 50 5
European Union
Migrants who want to stay 39 7
Migrants who want to move to another country 30 10
Migrants who want to move home 34 9
Gulf Cooperation Council
Migrants who want to stay 42 3
Migrants who want to move to another country 37 4
Migrants who want to move home 36 5
Gallup World Poll, 2010-2018

The relationship between thriving and migrants' desire to stay or move largely follows the global pattern in some of the top receiving regions for migrants. In top-destination regions such as Australia-New Zealand, the EU and Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the less likely migrants are to be thriving, the less likely they are to want to stay in their current country.

But in a host of other regions, including the Commonwealth of Independent States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa (excluding GCC), these same patterns don't play out.

Life Evaluations and Desire to Migrate
Among first-generation migrants living in these regions
Thriving Suffering
% %
Commonwealth of Independent States
Migrants who want to stay 25 18
Migrants who want to move to another country 22 17
Migrants who want to move home 22 28
Latin America and Caribbean
Migrants who want to stay 41 10
Migrants who want to move another country 37 7
Migrants who want to move home 42 7
Middle East and North Africa (Excluding GCC)
Migrants who want to stay 19 21
Migrants who want to move to another country 19 23
Migrants who want move home 27 9
Gallup World Poll, 2010-2018

For example, migrants in the CIS who rate their lives poorly enough to be classified as "suffering" are the most likely to want to move home. Migrants in MENA (excluding the GCC) who rate their lives positively enough to be classified as "thriving" are more likely to want to move home than if they are "suffering." So, in one case, people are doing poorly and want to go home, and in the other, they are doing well and want to do the same thing.

Implications

People's desire to migrate depends on where they live now, what their lives are like in their adopted countries and what the situations are like back in their countries of birth. But differences by region and by people's life evaluations underscore the complexity behind the reasons why migrants might want to stay or to keep moving. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to understanding them all, which is why Gallup will continue digging deeper into the phenomenon with additional analyses of these attitudes at the country level.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/272708/migrants-desire-move-again-hinges-live.aspx
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