More Chinese Than Mexicans Want to Migrate to U.S

Jody Brannon

Does it surprise you that more people from China -- granted, the world's most populous nation -- than from Mexico want to live in U.S.? In fact, almost four times more Chinese want to move to the U.S. than Mexicans, according to a Gallup survey.

At the same time 19 million Chinese and 5 million Mexicans say they would like to immigrate to the U.S., 138 million people in the United States would like to live elsewhere, the survey said.

That’s almost 44 percent  of the current U.S. population of 315 million. It's a number that invites disbelief, given that as of January, about 6.5 million Americans actually do live abroad, says Noel Clay of the State Department; and another Gallup survey last month said only about 11 percent of Mexicans and U.S. residents would want to live elsewhere. 

Fully 13 percent of the world’s adults would want to move somewhere, the survey said. If the 11 nations atop the list with the most people wanting to come to the U.S.  got their wish, that would be an additional 79 million U.S. residents.

Currently, the executive branch and Congress are discussing ways to deal with an estimated 11 million undocumented workers in a nation that, of late, generally naturalizes about 700,000 people a year from around the world.

The 19 million Chinese wanting to come here might seem like a large number, but that is only 1.4 percent of China’s 1.3 billion population.

Most Aspiring Migrants to U.S., in Millions
Most Aspiring Migrants to U.S., in Millions


Nations with the largest percentage of residents wanting to come to the U.S. are those that are battle weary and/or poor, based on United Nation figures.  Of the 11 nations the Gallup poll identified, most are grouped in war-torn western Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea) or economically distressed parts of  Central America and the Caribbean  (Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua).

Percentage of Aspiring Migrants Create infographics

Would you like to live elsewhere? For good? Weigh in below.

Meantime, here’s Gallup’s explanation of its methodology:

“Results are based on aggregated telephone and face-to-face interviews with 501,366 adults, aged 15 and older, in 154 countries from 2010 to 2012. The 154 countries surveyed represent more than 98% of the world's adult population. One can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error for the entire sample, accounting for weighting and sample design, is less than ±1 percentage point.”