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Many migrants today travel farther distances, consciously seeking cities of choice – a sociological metric designed by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) that measures and determines opportunity and quality of life. Observed in the aggregate, these migrants are more diverse than ever before and have in-demand vocational skills. They are also becoming more sought-after. While companies have traditionally competed for talent, cities are increasingly competing for residents. Based on the BCG’s surveys of 25,000 city residents and 850 executives in 10 countries, we’ve developed five predictions for how migration will change by 2030.

1. Migration will accelerate

In 2022, there were nearly 40 million refugees from conflict regions. Yet only 280 million people (3.6% of the world’s total population) live in a country other than that of their birth. Still, we believe today’s trends point to an acceleration of migration. We expect migration to exceed 4% of the global population by 2030, or more than 350 million people.

As large parts of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia transition to middle-income economies and quality education becomes more accessible, people will emigrate to seek better economic and lifestyle opportunities. Meanwhile, as of summer 2022, the world’s largest 30 economies had a record number of job openings (see Exhibit 1), especially for so-called deskless workers.

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