IOM publishes the first data from 2019 on the profile of extra-regional migrants in Panama

Los Planes, Panama. In the first six months of 2019, Panama has received 34% more migrants from South America than it received in all of 2018. Every day, an average of 120 people arrive at the Temporary Humanitarian Aid Station (ETAH) located on the border between Costa Rica and Panama. In this context, IOM carried out a second round of surveys to track the flows of extra-regional migrants, using the DTM (Displacement Tracking Matrix) methodology.

“This work is extremely important because it enables a detailed understanding of migration trends and the different profiles, contexts, and vulnerabilities of extra-regional migrants. The data will be a tool for evidence-based decision-making. From the perspective of IOM, providing data on migrants to the actors involved in managing this situation is key for promoting orderly and safe migration management and appropriate assistance for these people,” explained Karla Picado, Information Management/MIS Official of IOM’s Regional Migration Program.

Of the 316 extra-regional migrants surveyed between June 17 and 22, 28% are women and 72% are men.  An equal percentage of migrants, 32%, come from each Cameroon and Haiti, followed by Cuba with 15% and India with 9%. The remaining people come from countries such as Mali, Mauritania, Guinea, Eritrea, Bangladesh, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola.

One of the principal findings is that the surveyed migrant population has a high level of education: 33% completed secondary school, 22% have non-university higher education, 30% have a university degree, and 8% have a graduate degree. Regarding their employment situation, 76% of participants were working before they left, as paid workers (44%) or operating their own businesses (32%).

The people surveyed have left their countries of origin for various reasons. The migrants from Caribbean countries stated that their primary reasons for leaving their countries of origin were a lack of economic opportunities and unemployment (36%), political instability and persecution (20%), and limited access to basic services such as education, healthcare, and transportation (9%). On the other hand, political instability and persecution (41%), wars or armed conflicts (25%), and insecurity and indiscriminate violence (22%) were identified as the primary push factors for migrants from African and Asian countries.

The United States is the destination country for 68% of the migrants surveyed, Canada for 7%, and Mexico for 14%; 11% have not yet decided on a destination country. Socioeconomic conditions were identified by 48% of people as the primary factor that influenced this choice, followed by political stability and ease of access to asylum procedures (39%). Family reunification, meanwhile, is the primary goal for 13% of those surveyed.

This activity was made possible by financing from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the Department of State of the United States, within the framework of the Regional Migration Program: Mesoamerica-The Caribbean.

For more information, contact Karla Picado at


Date Publish: 

IOM's World Migration Report Shows Global Displacement Rising Despite COVID-19 Mobility Limits

Date Publish: 
01 / 12 / 2021

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) today launched its flagship World Migration Report 2022 which reveals a dramatic increase in internal displacement due to disasters, conflict and violence at a time when global mobility ground to a halt due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

"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 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, the eleventh in IOM’s World Migration Report series, draws upon the latest data from around the world to explain key migration trends as well as issues that are emerging on the migration policy horizon.

"This report is unlike any other edition of the World Migration Report,” said the IOM report editor Marie McAuliffe.

“So much has happened in migration and mobility over these last two years and in this report we bring together key data, research and analysis to show how long-term trends have been altered by COVID-19 and how migrants worldwide have been affected."

According to the report, the number of international migrants has grown from 84 million globally in 1970 to 281 million in 2020, although when global population growth is factored in, the proportion of international migrants has only inched up from 2.3 per cent to 3.6 per cent of the world’s population. Most people globally (96.4 per cent) reside in the country in which they were born. The number of international migrants for 2020 was lower, by around 2 million, than it otherwise would have been due to COVID-19.

The World Migration Report now has an expanded array of report materials for a digital age. The online interactive platform allows users to explore and interact with key data in a highly visual and engaging way. The 2020 edition won gold in the 2021 International Annual Report Design Awards earlier this year.

The online educators’ toolkit has been developed to support teachers around the world as they seek to provide balanced, accurate and interesting learning materials on the fundamentals of migration and migrants for teenagers and young adults.

The World Migration Report has become a key source for fact-checkers, helping to refute false news on migration in a wide variety of places. The 2022 edition now has a new and simple fact-checkers' toolkit to help bust key myths on migration.

In addition to data analysis, the report covers specific topics for those readers needing more in-depth content. Topics covered include migration and slow-onset climate change; peace and development links to migration; human trafficking in migration pathways; COVID-19 impacts; disinformation about migration; migrants’ contributions in an era of disinformation; and artificial intelligence and migration, which are timely and highly relevant for both specialist and general audiences.

The report can be downloaded here.


For more information, please contact:

Marie McAuliffe, World Migration Report Editor, IOM HQ, Tel: +41796599940, Email:

Paul Dillon, Managing Editor and Spokesperson, IOM HQ, Tel +41796369874, Email:

Safa Msehli, Spokesperson, IOM HQ, Tel: +41794035526, Email: