A recent Gallup World Survey has revealed that of the 700 million people worldwide, who want to leave their home country permanently, 45 million want to immigrate to Canada.
The survey, conducted by Gallup over 135 countries between 2007 and 2009, found that nearly 16 percent of the world’s adult population would like to move to another country permanently, if given the opportunity. Sixteen percent of the world’s adult population amounts to 700 million people – more than the entire adult population of North and South America combined.
The biggest movers came from sub-Saharan African countries, with 38 percent of the adult population in the region, about 165 million people, expressing a desire to immigrate to another country whenever the opportunity arose.
To evaluate preferred destinations for immigration, the survey used projected numbers based on percentages expressing a desire to move to a specific country. Based on these numbers, the United States emerged as the most desired destination for nearly 24 percent (about 165 million adults worldwide) of the 700 million, who wanted to move to another country permanently.
Canada came next with about 45 million people wanting to immigrate there, whenever the opportunity presented itself. The United States and Canada preceded other favoured destinations for immigration like the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Australia.
Interesting as these figures are, they raise several questions about the social and ethical implications of surveys that show such a mass movement of the population from their native countries to another country permanently.
For example, would Canada have the bandwidth in its economy and social services to absorb 45 million immigrants? Moreover, what happens to the countries that lose some of their best and brightest citizens? Clearly, the mass influx of immigrants would overwhelm some countries, while others would suffer considerable losses in terms of human capital.
According to Gallup, these findings reflect aspirations more than intent. However, the leaders of both sets of countries – the countries of origin and destination – would need to understand these aspects in order to develop their migration and development strategies accordingly.
Source: The Vancouver Sun and Gallup