Global Displacement Is on the Rise Despite COVID-19 Mobility Limits

Internal displacement due to disasters, conflict and violence increased dramatically in 2020 even though global mobility was ground to a halt due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. This was revealed in the World Migration Report 2022, launched by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Migration Agency, on 1 December.

"We are witnessing a paradox not seen before in human history," said IOM's Director General António Vitorino. "While billions of people have been effectively grounded by COVID-19, tens of millions of others have been displaced within their own countries."

The number of air passengers globally dropped by 60 per cent in 2020 to 1.8 billion (down from 4.5 billion in 2019) while at the same time, internal displacement due to disaster, conflict and violence rose to 40.5 million (up from 31.5 million in 2019).

The report shows that globally Ukraine remains one of the top countries both of origin and destination of migrants. As of 2020, the number of Ukrainian migrants abroad reached 6.1 million persons, while about 4.6 million immigrants were staying in Ukraine. Even being away from their homeland, Ukrainians continue making crucial contributions to the development of the country. According to the World Bank, in 2020, Ukraine was the third biggest recipient of private remittances in Europe, despite predictions of a decline due to COVID-19.

According to the report, during the last 50 years, the number of international migrants has grown from 84 to 281 million. However, the proportion of international migrants has only increased up from 2.3 per cent to 3.6 per cent of the world's population. The vast majority of people continue to live in the countries in which they were born — only one in 30 are migrants.

“The rise of disinformation about migration has meant that the World Migration Report has become a key source for fact-checkers around the world, helping to refute false news on migration in a wide variety of places. To assist fact-checkers, we have developed a simple toolkit to help bust key myths on migration,” highlighted António Vitorino.

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities