Expat population worldwide


This 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!

You can find out more about the worlds’ population on the move here.



  1. I wonder why there is such disparity in the estimates of expats living outside their country of citizenship. You talk about 230 M citing UN statistics. Finaccord talks about 50.5 M also citing UN statistics. Any thoughts on that difference?

    • Thank you, Elizabeth, for your comment. You are right, and I found different statistics & numbers about the amount of expats there are in the world. It pretty much depends on how and where they counted them. The page where the infographic was taken is no longer awailable, alas, but I remember that it started from the count of a moving company (I know…), so they included not only “expats” but also “immigrants”, i.e. people who would relocate for many different reasons. I’m reading the Finaccord research on it now and although they consider “five key categories, namely individual workers, corporate transferees, students, retired expatriates, and ‘other’ expatriates (defined as non-employed spouses and children)” (p.8), they analyze this data from 30 countries. I think to remember that the other one was based on more countries… I’m sorry I can’t give you a better answer right now, but I’ll look into it and will keep you posted (if you check here on the site in a while again 😉 ) – Thanks again! I find it quite difficult to have a detailed research data on “internationals” (using it as umbrella term for everyone living outside his/her passport country) worldwide…

  2. Hi. Hi, Can anyone help find this info please? I’m sure we have somewhere
    1. Data on number of business night accommodation over 30 days (on projects), inc locations globally (large firms)
    2. Corporate accommodation budgets (for staff on longer term assignments)
    3. Market entry strategies for hospitality & retail sector
    4. Cost of living data, country data needed
    5. Ex Pat favourite locations around the world

  3. Ute thanks for this, it is a fascinating graphic! I am looking for numbers on Expat births abroad if anyone here has any, I would be so grateful! As the basic numbers of immigrants/expats are difficult to come by, tracking birth abroad is even more complex. If anyone has a suggestion as to where I might find the data I would very much appreciate it!

    • Hi Kiersten, I’m very glad you liked this post! Numbers about Expat births is very difficult I guess… Maybe Internations have an approximate number about this, but like you say, tracking brith is very complex. I would start with those countries you can find the most expats in for example? – I hope you can find something useful. Is it for a study? Sorry, I’m curious 😉

  4. Ute, not sure if this still relevant, but I am looking for research that can answer the following questions: How many families – knowledge (work, knowledge, etc) expats are worldwide and how many in Europe. Thank you very much in advance,

  5. I wonder what the expat figures will be like after Brexit? Hopefully, the European countries involved in the negotiations will see sense and work things out. The UK needs foreign nationals to work here in areas such as the NHS, farming crops and other areas of employment that can’t be filled by British workers.

    I also doubt many Brits want to have to return to the UK after enjoying the more relaxed lifestyle of places like Spain or Portugal.

    • Geoff, I wonder the same. I didn’t see any guess on possible figures after Brexit yet that are worth to mention, but what I hear from Brits still living abroad is that they have no intention to return/repatriate – unless their companies don’t leave them any choice.

  6. As the number of Countries has been incresed more than 2 times and the population has been increased by 2.5 times.So expat population wil increase by calculation more by my estimation.

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