The UN migration agency, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in its report 'Measuring Global Migration Potential 2010-2015' which analyses people's migration intentions globally for the period 2010-2015, noted that globally 1.3 per cent of the adult population said they were planning to migrate permanently within the next 12 months.
The most popular destination for those planning to migrate is the US followed by the UK, Saudi Arabia, France, Canada, Germany and South Africa.
Half of those planning to migrate live in just 20 countries, led by Nigeria and followed by India, Congo, Sudan, Bangladesh and China.
At 4.8 million people, India has the second highest number of adults planning and preparing to migrate - 3.5 million people who are planning and 1.3 million who are preparing.
For Nigeria, the number stands at 5.1 million people, Congo 4.1 million, and China and Bangladesh at 2.7 million each.
The findings by IOM's Global Migration Data Centre (GMDAC) show that less than half a per cent of adults worldwide are actively making preparations to migrate abroad. One in three adults surveyed plans to migrate to a developing country.
West Africa, South Asia and North Africa are the regions with the largest migration potential.
"This unique global survey provides an important insight into people's migration intentions and the profile of those most likely to migrate," said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.
The share of the adult population planning to migrate abroad has increased moderately at the global level but more rapidly in certain regions. Adults planning and preparing to migrate are more likely to be male, young, single, living in urban areas and more likely to have completed at least secondary education.
"Improving our understanding of people's migration intentions could be useful for a range of different policy purposes. It could help policymakers plan for migration, understand better migration pressures, as well as highlighting potential migration trends where alternative sources of migration data are scarce," it said.
The report, however, added that it is important to note that measuring potential migration is not the same as measuring actual migration.
There are many reasons why a migration plan may never be realised including policy restrictions, lack of resources or a change of heart.
IOM Director General Swing added that the new study illuminates one trend that has been emerging for some time, which he explained was the "wide range of countries, both rich and poor, that are attracting migrants."
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