Proportion of migrants who return to country of birth significantly higher than first thought, study suggests
Mexico-to-US route sees largest flow in past five years, but also biggest rate of return as study suggests 45 per cent of immigrants eventually return home.
The new method, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the higher level of migration can be explained by increases in return migration – back to a person’s country of birth – which was much higher than previously thought.
Approximately 45 per cent of migrants returned to their home country in the studied period from 1990 to 2015. This appears to be particularly relevant for those displaced by conflict.
“We estimate a rate of return migration that is significantly higher than other methods, but it is also supported by history,” Professor Raftery said.
“For example, during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, more than a million migrants left the country, but most returned within three years after the conflict ended.”
Mass migration is still mainly being driven by major world conflicts and events, the study suggests. The civil war in Syria accounted for two of the top three emigration drivers between 2010 and 2015 in the study with flows from Syria to Turkey and from Syria to Lebanon accounting for 1.5 million people and 1.2 million people respectively.
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It suggests that emigration from Mexico to the United States was the biggest flow between 2010 and 2015, accounting for 2.1 million people. However the US to Mexico also had the highest rate of return migration, accounting for 1.3 million people – four times the rate of return from the United Arab Emirates to India.