Where would people live in a borderless world?

Gallup has just released its 2010 Potential Net Migration Index, an interesting survey that estimates what would happen to countries’ populations if everyone in the world who wanted to migrate were able to. The biggest gainer percentage-wise would be Singapore, which would see its population more than triple, though it’s worth keeping in mind that ...

Gallup has just released its 2010 Potential Net Migration Index, an interesting survey that estimates what would happen to countries' populations if everyone in the world who wanted to migrate were able to. The biggest gainer percentage-wise would be Singapore, which would see its population more than triple, though it's worth keeping in mind that Singapore's current population is less than 5 million. New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Switzerland would also huge gains. The United States would see a massive, considering its population, increase of 60 percent. 

Most of the biggest losers are not that surprising -- Sierra Leone, Haiti, Zimbabwe -- though strangely El Salvador, a poor country but hardly one of the poorest, would lose 45 percent of its population.

Some other observations: 

Gallup has just released its 2010 Potential Net Migration Index, an interesting survey that estimates what would happen to countries’ populations if everyone in the world who wanted to migrate were able to. The biggest gainer percentage-wise would be Singapore, which would see its population more than triple, though it’s worth keeping in mind that Singapore’s current population is less than 5 million. New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Switzerland would also huge gains. The United States would see a massive, considering its population, increase of 60 percent. 

Most of the biggest losers are not that surprising — Sierra Leone, Haiti, Zimbabwe — though strangely El Salvador, a poor country but hardly one of the poorest, would lose 45 percent of its population.

Some other observations: 

  • There are relatively few destination countries: 34 out of 135
  • Economic success story Botswana is the only African gainer at +34
  • Despite their economic success, China and India would both lose 6 percent of their population in a borderless world
  • Much has been made of the damage Japan’s restrictive immigration laws are doing to its economy, but the country would only gain 1 percent
  • Of the former Eastern Bloc countries, only Bulgaria is a net gainer and just barely

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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