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The number and proportion of immigrants in the population: international comparisons

  • Gilles Pison

The United States has the highest number of immigrants (foreign born persons) in the world, with a total of 43 million, six times more than Saudi Arabia (7.3 million) or Canada (7.2 million). However, relative to their population size,the two latter countries have twice as many immigrants: 28% and 21%, respectively, compared to 13% in the United States. Small countries have the highest relative number of immigrants. Switzerland, with 23% of immigrants, is ahead of the United States, while in Luxemburg the proportion is even higher (35%). In the old immigration countries, like the United States and France, the immigrant population built up gradually. Although moderate at certain periods, like in France today, the migrant inflow has remained almost uninterrupted over more than a century. In recent immigration countries, such as Spain, the immigrant population has grown very rapidly, with massive inflows in recent years.

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Paper provided by Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED) in its series Population and Societies with number 472.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:idg:posoce:472
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