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Countries with the Highest (and Lowest) Proportion of Immigrants

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Chart showing which countries have the highest proportion of immigrants

Countries with the Highest Proportion of Immigrants

For people living in cosmopolitan urban centers, it’s easy to overestimate the prevalence of immigrants around the world.

The median proportion of foreign-born people in all countries is just over 5%. In countries with a population greater than one million, only four are majority foreign-born, and only eight surpass the one-third mark.

Here are the top 20 countries with the highest proportion of immigrants in their populations:

CountryImmigrants as a percentage of population
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates88%
🇶🇦 Qatar77%
🇰🇼 Kuwait73%
🇧🇭 Bahrain55%
🇴🇲 Oman46%
🇸🇬 Singapore43%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia39%
🇯🇴 Jordan34%
🇦🇺 Australia30%
🇨🇭 Switzerland29%
🇳🇿 New Zealand29%
🇱🇧 Lebanon25%
🇮🇱 Israel23%
🇨🇦 Canada21%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan20%
🇸🇪 Sweden20%
🇦🇹 Austria19%
🇩🇪 Germany19%
🇬🇦 Gabon19%
🇮🇪 Ireland18%

Source: UN via World Population Review. Note: Only countries with a population of greater than one million are included.

The United Arab Emirates comes out on top for the highest proportion of immigrants in its population. Impressively, the small Middle Eastern nation ranks sixth in the world for total immigrant population (8.7 million people).

Other countries on the Arabian Peninsula also rank at the top of this list. In Qatar, current host of the 2022 World Cup, 3-in-4 people are immigrants. The high proportion of foreign workers in the country also results in an extreme demographic skew—approximately 75% of the population of Qatar is male.

The one extreme outlier in the region is war-torn Yemen, where only 1.3% of the population are immigrants.

Outside the Middle East, Singapore (43%) takes top spot, followed by Australia (30%).

Spotlight on U.S. Immigration

Although the United States is outside the top 20, it still has by far the most immigrants of any other country (50 million vs. 16 million in second-place Germany).

About 15% of people in the U.S. are immigrants—numbers which are comparable to the historic high in the late 19th century. The proportion of foreign-born people in the country has been on the rise since the 1970s, and is projected to continue rising in coming decades. Around 2030, immigration is expected to surpass natural increases as a driver of population growth.

Countries with the Lowest Proportion of Immigrants

A few countries are magnets for immigration, while a great many more receive very little immigration. This can simply be due to lack of demand, or because of more extreme circumstances such as war or a failing economy. In other cases, immigration policies may limit the number of people who can migrate to a country.

Here are the top 20 countries with the lowest proportion of immigrants in their populations:

CountryImmigrants as a percentage of population
🇨🇺 Cuba0.03%
🇨🇳 China0.07%
🇻🇳 Vietnam0.08%
🇮🇩 Indonesia0.13%
🇲🇬 Madagascar0.13%
🇲🇲 Myanmar0.14%
🇭🇹 Haiti0.17%
🇰🇵 North Korea0.19%
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka0.19%
🇵🇭 Philippines0.21%
🇲🇦 Morocco0.28%
🇮🇳 India0.35%
🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea0.35%
🇦🇫 Afghanistan0.37%
🇸🇴 Somalia0.37%
🇪🇷 Eritrea0.39%
🇭🇳 Honduras0.40%
🇬🇹 Guatemala0.47%
🇰🇭 Cambodia0.47%
🇹🇳 Tunisia0.51%

Cuba has the lowest level of foreign-born people in its population. The Caribbean nation makes it very difficult for foreign nationals obtain permanent residency.

China comes in second last. In absolute terms, the million or so immigrants living in China may sound like a lot, but pales in comparison to the overall population of 1.4 billion.

Interestingly, Japan–which is the poster child for low immigration–isn’t on the list above. The country’s foreign-born population sits at just over 2%.

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Misc

Ranked: The Top Languages Spoken in the World

Here are the top languages spoken in the world by number of speakers in 2023.

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top languages spoken in the world

Ranked: The Top Languages Spoken in the World

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The top languages spoken in the world reflect economic trends, populated countries, and even colonial history.

Here are the most spoken languages around the world as of 2023. These figures come from Ethnologue, which publishes a list of the largest languages every year.

The 12 Most Spoken Languages on Earth

English was born in the United Kingdom but today belongs to the modern world as the main international language of business and politics.

That’s why it’s not very surprising to find English as the world’s most spoken language, with 1.5 billion speakers as of 2023.

RankLanguage# of Speakers (2023)
1English1,500,000,000
2Mandarin1,100,000,000
3Hindi609,500,000
4Spanish559,100,000
5French309,800,000
6Standard Arabic274,000,000
7Bengali272,800,000
8Portuguese263,600,000
9Russian255,000,000
10Urdu231,700,000
11Indonesian199,100,000
12German133,200,000

In second place is Mandarin, the most spoken Chinese language dialect with 1.1 billion speakers. Originating in North China, it has become the most spoken language in China and Taiwan, as well as having millions of speakers spread across Southeast Asia and the world.

India is also represented in this ranking, but despite being the world’s most populated country, its speakers are spread out over multiple different languages. Hindi is the main language spoken in North India and an official language of the government, but other languages like Bengali are widely spoken in other regions, in this case in East India (and neighboring Bangladesh).

It’s also notable how languages from former colonial powers—like English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese—all have hundreds of millions of speakers, despite their mother countries accounting for a fraction of that total.

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