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Before Title 42 Expired, Who Wanted to Come to the U.S.?

Before Title 42 Expired, Who Wanted to Come to the U.S.?

Story Highlights

  • Roughly 146 million potential migrants worldwide would like to move to the U.S.
  • U.S. remains the top desired destination for Latin Americans
  • Half of adults in Honduras, Dominican Republic say they want to leave

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With Title 42 expiring this past week, much focus has remained on the southern U.S. border in anticipation of an increase in the volume of migrants and asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S.

But long before Title 42 expired, 31% of adults in Latin America and the Caribbean -- roughly 148 million people -- said they would like to leave their countries permanently if they could. Among those who would like to move, one in three (33%) in 2022 said they would like to move to the U.S., which is down slightly from 37% in 2021 but still translates to about 49 million people. How do we know that?

For years, Gallup has been asking people across Latin America and the Caribbean -- and the rest of the world -- if they would like to permanently leave their country and where they would want to go.

Across Latin America and the Caribbean in 2022, Honduras and the Dominican Republic had the highest rates of those saying they would like to permanently leave their respective nations, with at least half of adults saying they would like to move. In a number of other nations not shown here, desire to leave their country permanently remains substantial, with more than three in 10 in Peru (39%), Ecuador (38%), Chile (36%), Guatemala (36%), Argentina (34%), Bolivia (32%) and Nicaragua (31%) saying they would like to go.


Perhaps most dramatic is what has happened in Colombia. The nation, recently hailed as an economic success, has seen a dramatic climb since 2014 in those saying they want to leave the country permanently. The rising numbers coincide with the influx of Venezuelan migrants into the country and deteriorating life evaluations among Colombians.

Where Would People Like to Move?

Gallup asks those who want to leave their country permanently where they would like to go -- if they could. Seventeen percent of potential migrants worldwide -- which translates to roughly 146 million adults -- name the U.S. as their desired next home. Canada comes in second, with 9% -- or an estimated 77 million adults -- aspiring to move there.


Across Latin America and the Caribbean in particular, an estimated 49 million adults say they would want to leave permanently and come to the United States. Of course, relatively few of those wanting to head to the U.S. will be able to in fact make the move. Despite the established gap between the desire to leave and actual migration, the number of migrants arriving at the southern border has been on a steep rise since early 2020.

Do Americans Want Them?

Yet Americans do not seem eager to see more migrants coming to the U.S., whether legally or otherwise. With 28% of Americans currently satisfied with the level of immigration into the country, those who are dissatisfied are far more likely to want to see fewer, not more, migrants coming to America.


However, despite the current sentiment about immigration policies, Americans are far from anti-migrant. When asked in 2022, 85% of U.S. adults said immigrants living in their country are a “good thing,” and 88% said an immigrant becoming their neighbor is a good thing.

Bottom Line

While there has yet to be a noticeable increase in the number of people trying to cross the southern U.S. border since the expiration of Title 42, millions of people across the globe, including 49 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, would like to move to the U.S.

These numbers are lower than the previous year for the Latin America region, and Canada and Spain have become more desirable destinations during that time, but the U.S. remains the most desired for aspiring migrants both in the region and across the globe.

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

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