World

Roughly 6.2 Million Mexicans Express Desire to Move to U.S.

by Jon Clifton

Nearly three times as many Chinese and Indians say the same

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Amid an ongoing debate in the U.S. on immigration from Mexico, Gallup estimates 6.2 million Mexican adults say they would like to move permanently to the United States if given the chance. That's close to half of the 14 million Mexicans -- or 19% of the adult population -- who say they would like to resettle somewhere else; would-be migrants in Mexico choose Canada and Spain as their other top desired destinations.

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The findings are from Gallup surveys that previously estimated that roughly 700 million adults worldwide would like to move permanently to another country if they had the opportunity. Asked which country they would like to relocate to, more than 165 million adults worldwide name the United States.

Keeping in mind that Gallup's numbers reflect desire rather than actual migration rates, Mexico's roughly 6.2 million would-be migrants to the U.S. are significantly less than the estimated 22.9 million adults who would come from China, 17.1 million from India, and 16.6 million from Nigeria. Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Brazil would also send more migrants than Mexico.

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If all of the adults worldwide who tell Gallup they would like to move to another country actually did so, the United States could see a net population gain of 60%. Several other developed countries, such as Singapore, however, could be even more overwhelmed with migrants because of their smaller relative current population. Mexico, on the other hand, could potentially see net population losses as high as 15%.

While Gallup's migration findings reflect people's aspirations rather than their intentions, they reveal the desires of potential migrants around the world -- an important consideration for leaders seeking to proactively manage migration and migrant policy in their countries.

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact SocialandEconomicAnalysis@gallup.com or call 202.715.3030.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with 347,713 adults across multiple administrations of surveys in 148 countries between 2007 and 2009. Results among adults who would like to move to another country are based on a total sample of 75,125. For most countries, aggregated sample sizes (across three years of surveys) range between 1,000 and 3,000 interviews. For results based on 2,999 Mexican adults surveyed between 2007 and 2009, one can say with 95% confidence that the country-level margin of sampling error, accounting for weighting and sample design, is ±2.2 percentage points. The margin of error for 545 Mexican adults who say they would like to move to another country is ±5 percentage points. Results are projected to the total population of each country, aged 15 and older, using 2008 World Bank population estimates.

Results for data on Potential Net Migration Index scores based on aggregated telephone and face-to-face interviews with 259,542 adults, aged 15 and older, in 135 countries from 2007 to 2009. Index values have been rounded to the nearest integer value ending in a 0 or 5.

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