Sun, Aug 22, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Desired migration would shrink Taiwan, swell Japan

ANY PLACE BUT HOMETaiwan would suffer the largest net population loss among many Asian countries if everyone who wanted to move in or move out could do so

AFP , WASHINGTON

According to a Gallup poll released on Friday, if immigration was unchecked, more people would want to emigrate from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan than the number of people who would want to immigrate to any of the three places.

Taiwan would suffer the biggest net loss, at 21 percent of its adult population, while 6 percent would leave China and 12 percent would leave Hong Kong.

Of other Asian countries, the Japanese population would see a net increase of 1 percent, the population of Thailand would decrease by the same percentage and South Korea would lose 8 percent of its population.

Singapore, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia would see their populations triple if everyone who wants to move there were allowed to, the Gallup poll shows.

At the opposite end of the scale, the populations of Sierra Leone, Haiti and Zimbabwe would fall by more than half if migrants were allowed to leave at will, the poll found.

Gallup researchers interviewed nearly 350,000 adults in 148 countries between 2007 and this year to calculate each country’s potential net migration score — the number of adults who would like to leave a country minus the number who would like to move in — seen as a proportion of the total adult population.

They found that Singapore’s population of 4.8 million would increase by 219 percent, New Zealand’s population of 4 million would rise by 184 percent and Saudi Arabia’s population of 26 million would soar by 176 percent if everyone who wants to come in and wants to leave could do so.

Switzerland made it onto the list for the first time this year.

Some 800,000 of Switzerland’s 6 million citizens said they would like to permanently leave the country, while some 10 million foreigners said they would move there, given the chance.

The hefty influx of migrants to Switzerland versus the scant outflow from the Alpine country would mean its population would more than double, the Gallup poll showed.

The preferred destination of most would-be migrants is still the US, although the already large US population — 300 million inhabitants — means that the impact is less acutely felt, Gallup said.

The US is No. 14 on the net migration list. If everyone could come into the US who wanted to, and all those who wished to leave did, the US population would rise by about 60 percent.

At the other end of the list, many countries in Africa and Latin America showed net outflows of population — although four African countries would gain residents, the poll showed.

They are Botswana, which would see its population increase by 39 percent; South Africa, Zambia and Namibia, which would see rises of 13 percent, 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Botswana, which ranked just after the US and just above Norway on the list, is the world’s top producer of diamonds and a leading destination for high-end tourism. It prides itself on being a model of successful democracy in Africa.

At rock-bottom on the Gallup list is the west African country of Sierra Leone. If everyone who wanted to move in or move out did so, the country’s population would plunge by 56 percent.

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