International Migration - The migration debate


Few issues excite controversy like immigration, in part because it touches on so many other questions – economics, demographics, politics, national security, culture, language and even religion. That’s why it’s important to go beyond the rhetoric and get to the facts and realities of international migration.

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Chapter 1: Just under 3% of people on this planet – or around 190 million – are migrants. Other than that, generalisations can be of doubtful value when talking about migration. Each migrant and each country experiences migration differently. Even within countries, there can be big variations between regions, and even between towns and villages, in the numbers who leave, and the numbers who arrive. Migration is thus both a global and, at times, very local phenomenon.

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International migration is a major subject area for the OECD, which compiles internationally comparable data on migrant movements and the size of migrant populations, studies the performance of immigrants in education and the workforce, and examines the relationship between migration and development. To find out more go to

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