By Joel Burgess

According to a recently released United Nations report, there are now more than 191 million migrants worldwide, more than ever before. In fact, migrant numbers have more than doubled since the 1960s and if the entire world’s migrant population belonged to the same country, the country would rank as the fifth largest on earth. (It is estimated that around 30 million migrants enter the global workforce illegally.)

People leave their homes for many different reasons – search of a better job, lifestyle, or education; to escape poverty, famine, or war .

Housing an accumulated 35 million migrants, the United States attracts the most people from abroad. Russia follows with housing 13.3 million migrants while 7.3 million migrants reside in Germany . About half of all migrants are bound for North America and Europe . On the flip side, China sees the most people leave, followed by India and the Philippines.

Estimates vary as to how much money overseas migrants send back home, but the large amounts are important for the economies of many developing countries. The incoming money is often greater than the amount the countries receive in aid. However, this outsourced monetary incentive for developing nations comes at the cost of losing many skilled workers for their own local development.

According to the International Labor Organization, the money sent back to developing countries is at least $160 billion. However, this number is likely to be much higher, as not all remittances are recorded. In November 2006, the World Bank estimated that the amount sent home to developing countries could be as much as $199 billion, while $268 billion was sent home worldwide.