Skip to navigation

Skip to main content

 

ILO: 164 Million Migrant Workers in 2017

December 20, 2018

The UN reported 258 million international migrants in 2017. The ILO estimated that 164 million of these migrants, 70 percent of migrants 15 and older, were in the labor force of the countries to which they moved. The ILO estimated 150 million migrant workers in 2013, suggesting an average increase of 3.5 million migrant workers a year between 2013 and 2017.

Men were 58 percent of migrant workers in 2017. The share of men 15 and older who were in the labor force was 75 percent for both migrant and native men, but the share of migrant women in the labor force, 64 percent, was higher than for native women, 48 percent.

Over 111 million migrant workers, 68 percent, were in the high-income countries with a sixth of the world’s 3.5 billion workers. Migrants were almost 20 percent of workers in high-income countries, but less than five percent of workers in low-income countries.

By region, 24 percent of migrant workers in 2017 were in Europe, 23 percent were in North America, and 14 percent were in the Arab states. Almost 41 percent of all workers in the Arab states were migrants, followed by 21 percent of all workers in North America and 18 percent of all workers in Europe.

70 percent of international migrants 15+ were in the labor force of receiving countries


Source: ILO. 2018. ILO Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers.

68 percent of migrant workers were in the high-income countries with 1/6 of the world’s workers

Migrant Workers by Income Level of Countries, 2017
  Low-income Lower middle-income Upper middle-income High-income All
Total workers 292.6 1,216.7 1,355.9 599.5 3,464.7
Total workers in % 8.4 35.1 39.1 17.3 100
Labour force participation rate for total population 75.0 57.4 65.0 60.3 62.0
Migrant population aged 15+ 8.1 27.7 43.6 154.6 234.0
Migrant population aged 15+ in % 3.5 11.8 18.6 66.1 100
Migrants as a proportion of population aged 15+ 2.1 1.3 2.1 15.5 4.2
Migrant workers 5.6 16.6 30.5 111.2 163.8
Migrant workers in % 3.4 10.1 18.6 67.9 100.0
Labour force participation rate for migrant population 68.5 59.9 69.9 71.9 70.0
Migrant workers as a proportion of all workers 1.9 1.4 2.2 18.5 4.7
Note: Numbers are given in millions for the following categories: total workers, migrant population aged 15+ and migrant workers; workers and migrant workers include both the employed and unemployed; the labour force participation rate is the ratio of workers (employed plus unemployed) to working age population (population aged 15+).
Source: ILO. 2018. ILO Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers.

Almost a fourth of workers in Europe are migrants; over 40 percent of workers in Arab states were migrants

Migrant Workers by Broad Subregion, 2017
  Northern Africa Sub-Saharan Africa Latin America and the Caribbean Northern America Northern, Southern and Western Europe Eastern Europe Central and Western Asia Arab States Eastern Asia South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific Southern Asia All
Total workers 73.6 404.5 309.9 182.9 219.6 145.4 77.2 55.7 928.2 346.3 721.2 3,464.7
Total workers (percentage) 2.1 11.7 8.9 5.3 6.3 4.2 2.2 1.6 26.8 10.0 20.8 100
Labour force participation rate for total population 46.8 9.2 4.1 2.2 7.7 9.5 9.1 1.4 8.0 8.0 4.1 2.0
Migrant population aged 15+ 2.0 17.3 7.4 54.8 54.2 19.3 11.2 30.2 8.5 16.8 12.1 234.0
Migrant population aged 15+ (percentage) 0.9 7.4 3.2 23.4 23.2 8.3 4.8 12.9 3.7 7.2 5.2 100
Migrants as a proportion of population aged 15+ 1.3 3.0 1.5 18.7 14.2 7.9 8.6 27.8 0.6 3.3 0.9 4.2
Migrant workers 1.1 11.9 4.5 37.7 39.2 13.2 8.5 22.7 6.0 11.6 7.4 163.8
Migrant workers (percentage) 0.7 7.2 2.7 23.0 23.9 8.1 5.2 13.9 3.6 7.1 4.5 100
Labour force participation rate for migrant population 56.7 68.6 60.3 68.8 72.2 68.5 76.0 75.4 69.9 68.8 60.7 70.0
Labour force participation rate for non-migrant population 46.7 69.2 64.2 60.7 55.2 58.7 57.6 42.2 68.0 68.0 54.1 61.6
Migrant workers as a proportion of all workers 1.6 2.9 1.4 20.6 17.8 9.1 11.1 40.8 0.6 3.3 1.0 4.7
Note: Numbers are given in millions for: total workers, migrant population aged 15+ and migrant workers; workers and migrant workers include both the employed and unemployed; labour force participation rate is the ratio of the number of workers (employed plus unemployed) to working age population (population aged 15+).
Source: ILO. 2018. ILO Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers.