Men wait to be registered by Doctors Without Borders on the Ocean Viking in the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday. Renata Brito / AP
Europe and North America have absorbed the largest share of the world's 272 million migrants, a population that has grown by 23 per cent over the past decade, according to a UN report published on Tuesday.
The report found that there were 82 million migrants living in Europe and 59 million in North America in 2019, followed by northern Africa and western Asia with 49 million each.
There were 51 million more migrants in the world in 2019 than in 2010, a 23 per cent increase, according to the report prepared by the population division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
It said migrants account for 3.5 per cent of the world's population today, compared with 2.8 per cent in 2000.
The report said the estimates were based on official national statistics on the foreign-born or the foreign population obtained from population censuses, population registers or nationally representative surveys.
"These data are critical for understanding the important role of migrants and migration in the development of both countries of origin and destination," said Liu Zhenmin, UN under-secretary-general for Economic and Social Affairs.
He said "orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people" were important in fostering sustainable development.
The UN's country-by-country analysis shows that half the world's 272 million migrants live in just 10 countries, with the United States in first place with 51 million.
Germany and Saudi Arabia were next with 13 million each, followed by Russia (12 million), Britain (10 million), United Arab Emirates (nine million), France, Canada, Australia (eight million each) and Italy (six million).
In terms of countries of origin, India was first with 18 million nationals living in other countries, followed by Mexico (12 million), China (11 million), Russia (10 million) and Syria (eight million), according to the report.
The death of several migrants, mostly from Bangladesh, when their boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea after it left Libya hoping to reach Europe, brings to the fore the continuing plight of migrants.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s announcement that six European Union (EU) countries had agreed to take in some 150 migrants from a rescue ship that Italy had blocked from docking is a welcome development that has helped resolve the latest standoff over immigration to Europe across the Mediterranean.
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