Being expat

Expats infographic

Here is an interesting expats infographic which looks at the total expat population around the world.

A few numbers:

  • Since 1960, the number of expats triplicated: in 1960 there were “only” 73 million expats worldwide, today we are 230 million!
  • 3.1 % of the global population are expats.
  • If all the expats of the world were to form an imaginary country, it would be the 5th most populous country in the world and its  population would be greater than the ones in Russia, Germany and Brazil.
  • If all the expats would form a human chain, it would circle the earth once, i.e. it would be 40,000 km long.
  • Women make up 49% of the expat population worldwide, i.e. nearly 113 million, which is more than the population of Canada and the UK put together!
  • The top recipient countries of expat remittances are India, China, Mexico, Philippines and Nigeria.
  • The top 5 countries with the highest share of expats in total population are Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and Singapore.
  • There are 6.32 million American and 4.7 million British expats living abroad. – I would have liked to have a more detailed list about this.
  • In the time taken for you to read this, 6-7 expats would have moved abroad for the first time!

Categories: Being expat, Expat Life

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18 replies »

  1. Ha, I completely understand. Sometimes numbers just “knock me out”, but this is pretty impressive, especially when you are not living in places like Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and Singapore. I would really appreciate a more detailed list, because I have the impression that here in Europe there are many many more expats. For example: how many European-expats are there? It doesn’t have to be worldwide, within Europe? I know, I’m asking for more data, more numbers, more statistics 😉


  2. I wonder: do the military personnel distributed around the world from other countries qualify as expatriates? I think not. And the purloined slaves in Qatar – or for that matter even in Milano – are they expatriates, and the refugees from war torn countries… or from poorer to ‘richer’ countries… ? do these statistics apply primarily to blue or white collar civilian expats who decided to move to another country and have had all the infrastructure – legal and financial support – necessary to do so…? first the definition of ‘expatriate’ has to be established… for instance many refugees will at one point remain in the receiving country, maybe find work there, and become expats, but where is the demarcation line, I wonder.


    • Very true, Vera, unfortunately ‘expatriate’ is not defined in this infographic. And all those you mention are sometimes cathegorized as expats, some of them immigrants, emigrants, refugees – when does one start being an expat? I guess here are counted only the ‘official’ expats who work for specific (!) companies… Temo sia poco accurato, aimé…


  3. An very intersting infographic. There was a big jump between 1985 and 1990. Why is that? Was it because of the drive to open up economies from the USA, GB and the IMF? Or was it more to do with the ending of the divisions in Europe?


    • Stephen, I guess that all the reasons you mention might have caused this jump. I also think that the historical events in Europe with the fall of the German wall in 1989 has something to do with it. It would be great to have more details and backgrounds about these numbers. Also the regression between 2000 and 2005 surely was even bigger at the end of 2001 after the events of 9/11.


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