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ILO: 164 million migrant workers in 2017

June 17, 2019

The UN reported 258 million international migrants in 2017, defined as persons outside their country of birth a year or more, up from 173 million in 2010 or up an average 12 million a year. Two-thirds of international migrants are in richer industrial countries, where migrants are an average 12 percent of residents.

About 31 percent of all international migrants were in Asia in 2017, which has 60 percent of the world’s people, and 30 percent were in Europe, which has 10 percent of the world’s people. Asia was the source of 41 percent of international migrants, followed by Europe, the source of 24 percent.

The UN groups countries as North or industrial or South or developing. The largest migration corridor is South to South, as from Indonesia to Malaysia. The next-largest corridor is South to North, as from Mexico to the US, followed by North to North, as from Canada to the US, and North to South, as with Japanese in Thailand.

The ILO estimated that 164 million of the world’s international migrants in the labor force of the countries to which they moved in 2017, which means that 70 percent of international migrants 15 and older were employed or looking for work. The ILO estimated 150 million migrant workers in 2013, suggesting an average increase of 3.5 million 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 migrants and natives, 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.

Southeast Asia and the Pacific had a total of 346 million workers in 2017, including almost 12 million migrant workers, making migrant workers 3.3 percent of all workers in the region. Female migrant workers were a slightly higher share of all workers in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, 3.6 percent, than male workers, 3.2 percent.

https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_652106/lang--en/index.htm

164 million of the 258 million international migrants in 2017 were in the labor force


Source: ILO 2018. Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers – Results and Methodology.

68% of international migrant workers were in the high-income countries that had a sixth of the world’s 3.5 billion 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. Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers – Results and Methodology.