So, today, for instance, there is a link to three lists, of top migrant destinations, top emigration countries, and top “migration corridors”, migration corridors being country pairs, from and to. List one says how many people in each country were not born there, and the second list says how many people who were born there have now gone.
I have always believed that how people have been voting with their feet is one of the most potent judgements there can be at any particular moment in history, on the varying merits and demerits of different countries and different political and economic systems. The USSR bombarded the world with high decibel claims about the wonderfulness of itself and of its various national possessions, but could not explain why so many people wanted out, and so desperately, and so few in. How come the Berlin Wall only pointed in one particular direction? How come they were the ones who built it?
Contrariwise, the world’s anti-Thompsonists of an earlier time cursed the hideous exploitation of the emerging sweatshop (then) economies of South East Asia, but could not explain why people would swim through shark-infested waters, in order to be hideously exploited.
Such numbers also register how welcoming or unwelcoming different countries are towards being “flooded” with incomers. The USA, of course, is the country that positively defines itself as the country of migrants. That the USA, now as always, is by far the top migrant destination, leaving the rest in a clump far behind, says it all about the continuing vitality of the USA as the go-to superpower of the world, still, despite all the blunders its rulers are now making and which the USA itself is so good at drawing everyone’s attention to.
Russia and Saudi Arabia must also be doing something right, despite the stories you hear, and at least compared to the alternatives for those flooding in. Money plus labour shortages would be my guesses, in both cases.
The UK features in the top ten both for migration in and emigration out. That is a telling fact, is it not? India and Russia are also on both lists.
The biggest upheavals are surely the big numbers that pertain to countries with small populations. When you talk percentages, Australia looks to me positively USA-like in its eagerness to attract newcomers. That China, despite its colossal size and formidable recent economic vitality, is not on the top destination list is also quite telling, is it not?
These numbers are more than just ephemeral curiosities, I would say.