People > Migration > Background: Countries Compared

Ethiopia War and famine in surrounding nations have ensured that Ethiopia has had to deal with a high influx of refugees and immigrants. Between 1990 and 1999, the country accepted an estimated 284,930 refugees, the 15th highest number globally. Of that figure, 67,000 refugees originated from Sudan, 16,500 from Somalia and 13,000 from Eritrea, though a program of repatriation has meant many of these refugees have since returned. The good news for Ethiopians is that, with 6,353 US Visa lottery winners, Ethiopia the 3rd highest number of winners in the world.
France With a colonial history, France has understandably attracted a large number of immigrants. In fact, its total immigrant population is counted as 6.4 million, the 5th highest population in the world. However, despite the large number, France's net migration rate is relatively low, with the 2008 figure of 1.48 ranking France 54th in the world, and lower than Germany (2.19), the UK (2.17) and Italy (2.06). Many of those immigrants opt to stay, with 150,000 gaining French citizenship in 2000, the 4th highest globally.
Germany Germany can consider itself as the revolving doors of Europe with the country boasting the highest foreign population inflow, as well as the highest foreign population outflow. In 2000, a total of 562,400 foreign nationals left the country, while 648,800 entered. Those who stayed have become part of the 10.1 million-strong total immigrant population, the 3rd highest globally, behind the US (38 million) and Russia (12 million).
India According to the most recently available figures, India has the 8th largest immigrant population in the world, with an estimated 5.7 million. This figure pales somewhat in comparison to the biggest immigrant nations, namely the US (38.4 million), Russia (12 million) and Germany (10.1 million). However, this is not to say that emigration is not also a feature of Indian life, with the country's net migration rate in 2008 being -0.05 meaning that that more people migrated out of India than migrated in.
Iran Iran has the 21st largest immigrant population in the world, with just under 2 million living and working within its borders. However, it has a strong negative net migration rate of -3.28 per 1,000 of the population, meaning that more Iranians are leaving than foreigners arriving. Interestingly, Iran accepted the largest number of refugees between 1990 and 1999, with around 600,000 more than Germany, although the refugees per capita is the 15th highest globally, at 28.394 per 1,000 of the population.
Ireland Though Ireland has a long history of emigration, the success of its economy ensured a strong net immigration through the course of the 2000s. Between 2003 and 2008, the immigrant flow grew from 3.57 per 1,000 population to 4.76 per population. Despite the country’s small population of 4.6 million, the total immigrants is 585,000, giving Ireland the 56th highest immigrant population in the world.
Italy Italy has one of the 5th largest immigrant population in the EU, and the 16th in the world with just over 2.5 million living and working in the country. In fact, although Italy has a long history with emigration, the state now has a strong positive net migration of 2.06 per 1,000 of the population, showing that more people are not entering the country than Italians leaving it. Many of the new arrivals have opted to become Italian citizens, with 11,600 foreign nationals attaining new citizenship in 2000.
United States Formerly known as the New World, immigration has long been a major aspect of US life. Indeed, it has the largest immigrant population on earth, with 38 million people arriving in the country from abroad. However, the US also has the highest number of new citizenships in the world. In 2000, some 898,000 immigrants became US citizens - 4 times that of the 2nd-placed nation, Canada.


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