The number of international migrants in the world — currently 3.5 percent of people on Earth — is now increasing at a faster pace than the entire population of the planet.
The official U.N. tally of migrants — now 272 million — includes people who are changing countries both for any reason, voluntary or not, according to a U.N. press release. But a fast-growing portion of that number, currently just shy of 25 percent, consists of refugees and asylum seekers, illustrating a troubling instability in geopolitical dynamics.
The number of global refugees grew by 13 million people between 2010 and 2017, according to the U.N. While the press release focused on the numbers rather than the root causes of migration, past research has indicated that the growing number of refugees has only been exacerbated by worsening climate change.
U.N. undersecretary Liu Zhenmin says in the press release that understanding migration patterns — tracking where people are leaving and heading, is crucial for making sure migrant populations are safe.
“Facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people will contribute much to achieving the sustainable development goals,” he said in the release.
READ MORE: Number of migrants now growing faster than world population, new UN figures show [United Nations newsroom]