Immigration Nations: The 10 Countries With the Most Immigrants

Italian immigrants on board a ferry from the docks to Ellis Island, New York

Italian immigrants on board a ferry from the docks to Ellis Island, New York. | Lewis W Hine/Getty Images

America is a nation of immigrants. You’ve heard that before, and it’s more or less true for 98% of us. Seriously, only 2% of the American population is categorized as Native American. So, everyone else had to arrive by other means, at some point.

Currently, the topic of immigration is more economical and political than anything else. Immigration leads to economic growth, but many immigrants end up in jobs or careers that some in the native population feel entitled to.

Using figures from the United Nations (cited here by the United Kingdom’s The Telegraph and The World Economic Forum), we created a list of the countries that hold the most immigrants. These countries are ranked in terms of a percentage of their population — and most are small, both geographically and in population. The population of the U.S., for the curious, is made up of 14.5% migrants.

Here are the top 10 countries with the most immigrants.

10. Luxembourg

A view of Luxembourg City

Luxembourg has seen a recent influx of immigrants. | Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Kicking things off at No. 10 is the small European nation of Luxembourg. It’s a wealthy nation surrounded by Belgium, France, and Germany, and like its neighboring countries, it has seen an influx of immigrants in recent years. Given the state of things in the Middle East, it’s reasonable to expect immigration levels to remain high. According to the U.N. figures, more than 40% of the country’s population is foreign-born.

9. Singapore

Singapore

Almost half of its population are immigrants. | Clive Mason/Getty Images

Singapore clocks in at No. 9. Singapore is a very tiny country — or city-state, more accurately — located right at the southern tip of Malaysia in Southeast Asia. Its population of more than 5.3 million is made up, in large part, of migrants. U.N. figures say that roughly 45% of those 5.3 million are immigrants.

8. Bahrain

Buildings under construction in Bahrain

The country is rapidly developing. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Bahrain is the first of several Middle Eastern countries on the list. The Arab Gulf States are open to immigrants, as they rapidly develop their cities and require workers. You may have heard about the need for laborers in the Arab Gulf States in recent years, and Bahrain is one of the country’s bringing them in. The country is home to more than 1.3 million people, and about a half of them are migrants.

7. Monaco

Monaco

More than half of its population are immigrants. | iStock.com

Many people may not realize that Monaco is actually a microstate, not just a city. It’s composed of less than 500 acres on France’s southern coast, and it has a population of around 40,000. Around 55% of the country’s population are migrants, earning it a spot on the list. It makes sense — such a small city enveloped on three sides by a foreign nation is likely to have a small native-born population.

6. Macao

Tourists in Macao

Tourists take part in a “sky walk” on the rim of the 61st floor of the Macau Tower in Macau. | Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images)

Macao — or Macau — is another micro city-state. It’s located adjacent to Hong Kong on China’s southern coast and is home to almost 600,000 people. Almost 60% of them are foreign born. Again, this makes sense given the country’s small size and relative location to other countries. Many come for Macao’s gaming and nightlife — and, evidently, some choose to stick around.

5. Andorra

Encamp, Andorra

About 60% of Andorra’s population are immigrants. | iStock.com/Андрей Шевченко

If you aren’t sick of tiny countries, you’re in luck. Andorra is next on the list — a small country located right along the border between Spain and France. It’s bigger than Macao and Monaco, but still only about 180 square miles. The population numbers are around 80,000, and like many other European countries, it’s growing due to immigration. 60% of Andorra’s population are immigrants.

4. Liechtenstein

Lichtenstein Castle

The country is attracting many immigrants. | Johannes Simon/Getty Images

Liechtenstein isn’t a country that most Americans are even aware of, let alone one they have visited. But it’s evidently attracting its fair share of migrants. The country itself is less than 62 square miles and is home to around 40,000 people. Slightly less than 62% of them are immigrants. As for location, the country is situated on the mountainous border between Austria and Switzerland.

3. Kuwait

Kuwait City's banking complex

Almost three-quarters of the population are immigrants. | Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images

The final three countries on the list are all in the Middle East. Like Bahrain (mentioned earlier), they’re all welcoming immigrants in large numbers. Kuwait has seen a huge immigration increase in recent years. The country has an overall population of around 3.3 million, and according to the U.N., a whopping 74% of them are immigrants.

2. Qatar

Construction workers at a site in Qatar

Qatar attracts many migrant workers. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

If there’s one country that’s been caught smack in the middle of the Middle East migrant crisis, it’s Qatar. Specifically, Qatar has come under incredible pressure for its use of migrant workers in preparation for the 2022 World Cup. Workers have been treated horribly, according to numerous reports, and many claim that they’re unable to leave. Even so, like all the other nations on the list, its immigrant population is exploding. Qatar’s population is more than 2 million, and 75% of them are migrants.

1. United Arab Emirates

The skyline of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is leading the world in terms of immigration. | Julian Finney/Getty Images for XCAT

When looking distinctly at the percentage of migrants in a given population, no country on Earth beats the United Arab Emirates. Located on the Persian Gulf (like Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait), UAE is home to almost 9.5 million people. Amazingly, 88% of those people are immigrants. Most of them, as with other Arab Gulf States, are coming from countries, such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The country’s rapidly modernizing, and it needs people to build its towns and cities.

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