(09 August, 2021)  The inflow of immigrants and migrant workers is often perceived extremely negatively by the existing population of a region, due to expectations that immigrants may represent a threat to cultural values, security, and availability of jobs, not to mention the fact that working migrants and some immigrants often send the largest share of their income back to the country of origin, which can undermine the stability of balance of payments.

Is the negative attitude toward the inflow of migrants justified from the point of view of long-term economic development? Let's take a look at what data shows.

  • We compared the change in per capita GDP and the change in share of foreign and foreign-born persons in the population over the last thirty years for the highest-income countries, the largest economies, and countries with the largest stock of foreign migrants, excluding economies highly dependent on oil and gas exports*.
  • The data shows that a higher increase in the share of stock of foreign migrants in a population from 1990 to 2019 is associated with a higher increase in per capita income, suggesting that the long-term effect of immigrant and migrant inflow on the growth of personal wealth of the established population is most likely positive.

*Per capita income in economies highly dependent on oil and gas exports is mostly determined by the oil and gas world price movements, which makes difficult to estimate the impact of other factors.

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