Just The Facts

Where Migrants Live: Russia and the Persian Gulf

Russia and Saudi Arabia are home to some of the largest immigrant populations in the world.

Credit: Natanael Ginting Shutterstock.com

Takeaways


  • Saudi Arabia is home to the fourth-largest immigrant population in the world: 10.2 million.
  • Oil-based economies are dependent on migrant-workers from poor countries as well as skilled expatriates from wealthy countries.
  • Russia's foreign-born population has remained unchanged since 1990 – 11.5 million.

1. As of 2015, Russia has a foreign-born population numbering 11.6 million. That makes Russia home to the third-largest in the world, trailing the United States by a lot and Germany by less than half a million people.

2. About 8% of Russia’s population is foreign-born.
 

3. Many of these migrants hail originally from former Soviet Republics, particularly impoverished Central Asian countries.

4. The Russian Federation’s foreign-born population has remained nearly unchanged since 1990 – 11.5 million – when the country was part of the Soviet Union.

5. Saudi Arabia is now home to the fourth-largest immigrant population in the world at 10.2 million (as of 2015).

6. One-third of Saudi Arabia’s population is foreign-born. (In its much smaller neighbor, United Arab Emirates, 88% of the population is now foreign-born, with 8.1 million immigrants.)

7. Saudi Arabia, like many of the Gulf monarchies, features sizable migrant-worker populations in both the domestic service and the construction industries.

8. Many of these workers, coming from South or Southeast Asian countries, often find themselves in difficult and exploited positions when they arrive.

9. These mostly oil-based economies are completely dependent on migrant-workers from poor countries as well as on skilled expatriates from wealthy countries.

10. However, both non-native population cohorts are afforded very minimal social participation rights beyond contributing their economic value.

Source: Pew Research Center

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