Indians make up the world’s largest Diaspora group with 16 million people living outside the sub-continent, according to a new United Nations survey.
The Indian Diaspora has grown from just 6.7 million in 1990. Pakistan and Bangladesh also account for large Diaspora populations along with China, Russia and the Ukraine, according to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The survey found that there are some 244 million migrants around the world with the US, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UK and accounting a majority of expats.
The United Nations report does not distinguish between who migrates with legal papers and who does not.
Among the migrants worldwide are 20 million refugees — those who have fled war or persecution in their home countries.
Whatever the status of migrants, their impact is enormous.
“What I found particularly interesting is how important migration has been for population growth, which is sorely needed in certain parts of the world,” UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said, citing the example of Europe, where the population would have fallen in the absence of net migration.
Migrants remittances, for example, account for significant portions of national incomes in parts of South Asia.
Migrants tend to be mostly young, working-age people, which can be a boon to countries like those in Europe where the native population is swiftly aging. Africans and Asians tend to be the youngest of migrants.
Migration can also roil domestic politics in the receiving countries, as political discourse in the UK, Europe and the United States suggests.
After India, Mexico has the second largest diaspora, with 12 million living abroad, the majority of them in the US.