More fun with MigrationWatch numbers

Hello people. It's lunchtime, and I've managed to do some quick calculations based on yesterday's figures from MigrationWatch. Enjoy!

To recap - MigrationWatch's point is that the proportion of the UK's population who are migrants has risen from 4.5% in 1961 to 11% now. Between 1960 and 2005, the total number of migrants in the whole world has risen from 2.5% to 3% - therefore Labour are a bunch of lying toerags and the rise in the number of migrants in the UK has nothing to do with a worldwide phenomenon. MigrationWatch didn't mention that this rise in the world's migrant population meant that the total number of migrants had risen from 75 million in 1960 to 191 million in 2005. Perhaps that's because that would point towards the possibility that international migration is a global phenomenon since the number of countries in the world hasn't risen by the same proportion, that the population of countries accross the globe hans't risen uniformly and these people all have to go somewhere - but I'll leave you to decide that one for yourselves.

MigrationWatch's figures were based, in part on 'Trends in Total Migrant Stock: The 2005 Revision' from the UN. It includes a table of the top 20 countries in the world for the total number of migrants in the population. What I've done is taken that table and done a quick calculation for each country on the table to show the percentage of the population those migrants represent and knocked it out in order. These are based on the figures for the number of migrants from 'Trends in Total Migrant Stock' and 2005 UN population estimates from each country. Here we go:

1. United Arab Emirates - 71%
2. Hong Kong - 42.6%
3. Israel - 40.1%
4. Jordan - 38.6%
5. Saudi Arabia - 26%
6. Australia - 20%
7. Canada - 19%
8. Kazakhstan - 16.8%
9. Ukraine - 14.6%
10. Cote D'Ivoire - 13.2%
11. US - 12.8%
12. Germany - 12.2%
13. Spain - 11.1%
14. France - 10.7%
15. Russia - 8.4%
16. Italy - 4.3%
17. Pakistan - 2.1%
18. Japan - 1.6%
19. India - 0.5%

I've missed out the UK for now, but based on the population of 2005 we would fit in at 15th on this table, just behind France. You might be able to guess what's coming next.

Even if the percentage of migrants in every country in this table has not risen at all in the last three years, the UK would be joint 14th with France. Fractions of fractions of percentage points might take us higher. But, of course, the proportion of migrants will have risen in France and other countries over the last three years.

For a country whose proportion of migrants has risen quickly since 1990, look at Spain. In 1990, the country didn't have enough migrants to make the UN's top 20 list at all, with fewer than 1.4 million migrants. By 2005, Spain was 10th on the table with 4.8 million - one place behind the UK. But the rise in the UK's migrant population is shocking and it's all the government's fault. No global trend here.

Would the number of migrants in the UK be lower by now had the government followed different policies? Maybe. But is a rise in the number of migrants a worldwide phenomenon? Definitely.

Incidentally, here's another immigration scare story from the Mail - 'Number of illegal immigrants in Britain 'may be nearing 1million''. Veracity of the story aside (when I saw it yesterday, the figure was closer to 750,000), if the government's immigration policy amounts to encouraging foreigners to come and handing out passports like sweets, as the paper would usually have us believe, would it be able to scare us with stories about the number here illegally?

More also over at the Angry Mob

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