India topped a list of countries with most number of people living outside its borders in 2017. A report published by the United Nations said 17 million Indian-born people live outside the country. Of these, at least 5 million live in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and 2 million in the United States of America.

Mexico, the Russian Federation, China, Bangladesh, Syrian Arab Republic and Pakistan and Ukraine also have large populations living abroad, the report said.

Across the world, there are an estimated 258 million people who live in a country other than their country of birth – an increase of 49% since 2000. As much as 64% of them live in high-income countries.

The international migrants include 26 million refugees or asylum seekers, most of whom, however, were hosted by low-and middle-income countries, the report said.

Migrants were also older when they made the shift, the report said – from 38 years in 2000 to 39.2 years in 2017. Women migrants outnumbered men in all regions, except Africa and Asia.

The UN said the study of international migration is important as it shows how population grows in many parts of the world. It also contributes to reversing the population decline in some countries. For instance, between 2000 and 2015, migration contributed 42% of the population growth in Northern America; in Europe, the size of the total population would have declined during that period if there was no migration.

“Reliable data and evidence are critical to combat misperceptions about migration and to inform migration policies,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’s Under-Secretary-General, according to PTI.