Published on People Move

Why the development agenda must embrace migration

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1. Migration is an exception rather than the rule. Only 200 million or 3% of world population are international migrants; 97% are not. Most people like to be rooted where they are born, unless they are uprooted by economic factors.

2. Over 90% of international migrants are economic migrants who have left home to work for someone abroad. The implication is that migration generates economic gains for the migrants, their employers in destination countries, and their families back home. Yet, considering that most people stay at home, migration is not a substitute for development and job creation at home.

3. Contrary to popular perception, migrants from developing countries do not always move to rich countries. About half of them reside in other poor developing countries. In other words, migration is not always "south-north".  Many developing countries have to deal with the complexities associated with not only emigration of their people, but immigration of people from other countries.


Dilip Ratha

Lead Economist and Economic Adviser to the Vice President of Operations, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, World Bank

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