Gallup: 138 Million People Would Move to the U.S. If They Could

By Susan Jones | March 21, 2013 | 5:42 AM EDT

Statue of Liberty (AP File Photo)

( - The United States is the top destination for people who say they would like to leave their own country and move somewhere else.

A Gallup poll found that 138 million people chose the U.S. as their desired destination, followed by 42 million who picked the United Kingdom and 37 million who picked Canada. Rounding out the list -- France (chosen by 31 million), Saudi Arabia (29 million), Germany (28 million) and Australia (26 million).

Chinese people lead the list of people wishing they could move to the U.S. Nineteen million of them said they would move here if they could, followed by 13 million from Nigeria, 10 million from India, and 6 million each from Brazil and Bangladesh.

Five million Mexicans said they'd like to move to the U.S. permanently, but many millions of them already have done so -- legally or illegally.

Percentage-wise, 37 percent of Liberians chose the U.S. as their preferred destination, followed by 30 percent from Sierra Leone, 28 percent from the Dominican Republic, and 25 percent from Haiti.

According to Gallup, the U.S. remains the most popular destination for potential migrants because of economic opportunities and established networks of migrants who are already in the country.

"When it comes to a desired place to live permanently, no other country compares with the U.S.," Gallup concluded.

The poll is based on aggregated telephone and face-to-face interviews with 501,366 adults, aged 15 and older, in 154 countries from 2010 to 2012. The 154 countries surveyed represent more than 98% of the world's adult population. The margin of sampling error for the entire sample is less than plus or minus 1 percentage point.