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Gallup Potential Net Migration Index – Singapore – New Zealand – Saudi Arabia – Canada – Switzerland – Australia – Kuwait atop


net migration rate

A study recently released by Gallup, on the topic of the Potential Net Migration Index shows that nations such as Singapore, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Switzerland and Australia are atop the list of countries that could see the highest net adult population growth from international migration. In the scenario in which all the borders are opened and population can move freely from one country to another, following their wishes as expressed in the survey, some of these countries could double their population according with the study.

net migration rate

At the other end of the table, the countries that potentially could lose the biggest population number, in some countries the values going as high as half of the current population size are: Sierra Leone, Haiti, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia or El Salvador.

net migration rate

Definition of the index

# Potential Net Migration Index (PMMI): “Measures the estimated number of adults who express their wishes to move permanently out of a country if the opportunity arose subtracted from the estimated number who would like to move into it and calculated as a proportion from the total adult population currently residing in the country.”

Calculation formula

[(A-B)/C]*100, where

  • A = # Estimated adults who express their wishes to move into it
  • B = # Estimated adults who express their wishes to move out from a country
  • C = # Adult population currently residing in the country


The study is survey based and uses for the calculation Gallup’s Potential Net Migration Index. The methods used for the survey data collection are telephone interviews and face to face interviews.

Data collection

The survey takes in consideration 148 countries, which represent almost 95% of the global population and was conducted between 2007 and 2010 on more than 350,000 adults.

Survey questions

The survey data is subtracted from two questions:

• “Ideally if you had the opportunity, would you like to move permanently to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country? If Yes

• To which country would you like to move?

Study limitations

• The Gallup’s findings reflect people wishes rather than their intentions.

• Index scores are not reported for countries were the sample was smaller than 500, such as Belize, Cyprus or Iceland, due to the index volatility

• In Gulf Cooperation Council countries only Arab nationals and Arab expatriates were surveyed

• Index scores are not reported for countries such as Qatar or United Arab Emirates where the expat population make up more than 50% of the adult population.

• Most importantly, the rankings are powerfully influenced by the size of the current population. Countries such as USA, which is the most preferred country for immigration doesn’t show up in the top ranking spots due to its high population size.


Though is based mostly on the interviewed people’s wishes and on an ideal situation or hypothesis in which the population is free to move from one country to another without any restriction, the study raise important questions for the world countries leaders. A couple of them could be:

  • What would be the real implications if these desires become reality?
  • What future actions need to be pursued to keep a state of equilibrium in the world?


* data based on, Country Reports

Image Sources:

10 Key Performance Indicators for 2010
Professional Services Performance Management - performance criteria and measures

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