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Interactive Maps: A look at migration patterns over the years


According to the UN, there are 5.68M Philippine migrants to date. This is roughly 5% of the Philippine population. Where do our people and the rest of the world go?

We thought this would make quite an interesting interactive map, so we created an application for it (embedded below). We visualized the immigration and emigration patterns of the world since the year 1990 in 5-year intervals. Our data is sourced from UN migration data[i]. Click, drag, and tinker around with the map!

Note: The map might take around 30 seconds to appear due to server restrictions. Please reload if you do not see the application within the said time.



All of our plots were created in a Python interactive visualization library called Bokeh, including the first map (we used GeoJSON features as patches to the map plot). GeoJSON is a format based on JSON, specifically for encoding geographic data structures.

The United States is the number one country of choice for Filipino immigrants, with 35% of Filipino immigrants currently based in the USA. The United States also happens to be the country of highest immigration. As of 2017, of the 321 million people residing in the US, 48 million are immigrants. To put that count into perspective, that’s equivalent to 4 times that of Metro Manila’s population. If that still doesn’t seem like much, imagine moving the entire New Zealand population into the US – 10 times!

This brings us to the next question: Where do these 48 million people come from?


The Philippines ranks 4th in the number of immigrants to the US. While some might argue that this does not seem like a large representation (we didn’t even place in the top 3!), let’s compare our position relative to the other 3 countries who surpassed us.


Mexico comprises 27% of the US immigration population. Proximity holds a large factor in Mexicans’ immigration to the US. China and India both hold the spots for the largest populations in the world with the US coming in at third, which is why it would make sense that these two huge countries would hold positions in the US immigration count. The Philippine population is relatively small and its distance is quite far away from the US, yet we still rank fourth.


While this blog only focuses on Philippine migration (and briefly at that), it is quite remarkable to see how such a small country can contribute a substantial number of migrants. There is more to explore, and this interactive geographic map we’ve created can be a starting point, as it allows us to see the other countries' state of migration. As Ellsworth Huntington puts it, “history in its broadest aspect is a record of man’s migrations from one environment to another.” Check out your home country, pick a country of your interest, or select a country that piques your curiosity—there are still so much more migration patterns to be explored.