New figures from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) showed that 232 million people, or 3.2 percent of the world's population, live abroad worldwide, compared with 175 million in 2000 and 154 million in 1990, a Chinese state run news agency reported citing the report released on Wednesday.

The new estimates include breakdowns by region and country of destination and origin, and by sex and age. The north, or developed countries, is home to 136 million international migrants, compared with 96 million in the south, or developing countries.

"Migration, when governed fairly, can make a very important contribution to social and economic development both in the countries of origin and in the countries of destination," said Wu Hongbo, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs.

Migration broadens the opportunities available to individuals and is a crucial means of broadening access to resources and reducing poverty, he added.


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