8 Statistics to Consider Regarding Global-Local Missions

1) 3% of the world is on the move. That is 232 million people, about 20% of which are coming to the United States. According to United Nations reports, the number of people migrating in the world has risen significantly in the last twenty years. In 1990 there were an estimated 150 million international migrants, a number that has increased rapidly in the years since. Most of these migrants are elderly and they are not all headed to the developed world, but rather to a wide variety of locations.

For further reading, check out: - On the move: 232 million migrants in the world - Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States

2) $436 billion/year is sent home in remittances.

Migrating populations across the globe send money home to their families and loved ones. Even though deportations are on the rise in many host countries, remittances are expected to increase this year by 7.8 percent. According to the World Bank, the dollar amount of remittances sent home by migrants exceeds that of official development assistance to developing countries. For some countries, remittances even exceed earnings from major exports.

For further reading, check out: - Remittances to developing countries stay robust this year, despite increased deportations of migrant workers, says WB

3) 12.5% of people in the United States are immigrants.

Though the percentage of immigrants in the US had been relatively flat for many years, it is once again on the rise. Current percentages are approaching those of America’s greatest years of immigration between 1860 and 1920. During that time immigration fluctuated between 13.0 and 15.0 percent. The record low for immigration was 4.7 percent in 1970.

For further reading, check out: - Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States

4) By 2040 the US will be a majority-minority country.

Recent US Census Bureau numbers report that minorities make up the majority of births, meaning that very soon European-Americans will no longer be the majority demographic.

For further reading, check out: - US Will Have Minority Whites Sooner, Says Demographer - Census: White Population Will Lose Majority In U.S. By 2043

5) There are approximately 361 UPGs (Unreached People Groups) in the United States.

This astounding number puts the US in third place, right behind India and China, for countries with the largest number of UPGs. It remains difficult to find extensive data on UPGs in North America, though. As missiologist J.D. Payne has noted, “We have better data on a UPG living on the backside of the Himalayas than we do on that same people group living across the street from us in New York, Toronto, Chicago… This is a pathetic reality and reflective of much of the missiology found in this part of North America.”

For further reading, check out: - Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration and Mission, by J.D. Payne

6) China has more people than all of Africa.

Of course we believe that it is important to reach all people. However, we also believe that China must be understood on its own terms - this is one country with as many people as an entire continent! Considering the size of its population and its role in the world today, China and its people continue to be strategic and vital missional targets.

For further reading, check out: - Africa bigger than China, China more populated

7) Chinese make up the largest percentage of international students and their numbers are increasing.

Chinese jumped up as the largest percentage of international students in 2009 and the number has almost doubled since. There are now about 235,000 Chinese students in US, 28.7% percent of all international students. Since 2007, the number of Chinese students has increased annually by 19.8% and there is no reason to expect the rate to slow down in the near future. Undergraduate students have made up the bulk of this dramatic climb as Chinese families become increasingly willing and able to pay out-of-pocket for their child to be educated in the American system. This school year, a full 10% of the University of Illinois’ incoming freshman class is Chinese.

For further reading, check out: - U. of I. reaches out to 600 freshman from China - The Economic Impact of Chinese International Students in the United States - SAT alternative makes bid for Chinese takers

8) The American church spends $1.6 billion/year on short-term trips.

Short-term mission trips generate a large amount of financial giving. As the American church, we spend an incredible amount of money to send people internationally, but what if some of that money was harnessed for reaching our neighbors down the street? The resources and manpower for global-local missions are not lacking – they just need to be refocused.

For further reading, check out: - Bestselling Authors Urge Churches to Scale Back Short-Term Missions ‘For the Sake of the Gospel’ - When Helping Hurts, by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert


Hannah Nation serves as the blog editor for the China Partnership. She is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and works full-time on staff with China Outreach Ministries, serving students in the Boston metro area. She first traveled to China in 2005 and has cared deeply for the country and its church ever since.