Narendra Modi
India has the largest diaspora population in the world, said UN. Picture: A man waves the Indian flag at times Square ahead of Modi's address at Madison Square GardenReuters

India has the largest diaspora population in the world, at 16 million, the United Nations has said in its newly released survey on migration trends.

The survey, which looked at people residing in a country other than their that of their birth, also revealed that 244 million people were living as international migrants in 2015, a 41% increase from 2000. Of the 244 million, 20 million are refugees.

While 2015 saw an exodus from Syria and neighbouring countries fraught with conflict, the Indian community was largely migrating for better employment opportunities.

The richest Indian diaspora can be found in the US, with the median household income pegged at $100,547 (almost Rs 70 lakh) per year, which is almost double the median household income in the US, according to the 2013 data of the Census Bureau.

In 2015, Indians accounted for the third-largest ethnic group in the US at 3.5 million, making up 1% of the total population.

In the UAE, Indians were the largest group of migrants at 2.6 million in 2015, reported The National. And the population is no more just migrant workers seeking manual labour jobs. If we take a hint from the Forbes list of 100 richest Indians, which listed nine UAE-based people of Indian origin, Indians are doing pretty well abroad.

Even in the US, Indians are no longer seen as shop-owners and blue collar workers, according to "The Other One Percent", a book written by Devesh Kapur. An academician who specialises in the study of Indians abroad, Kapur said the Indian community there was "rich and educated".

In 2012, 42% Indians in the US held degrees. The US pays those with a college degree 74% more than those who have only a high school degree, reported The New York Times. Indians' fixation for pursuing degrees in the Western hemisphere is said to have led to a "brain drain" for the south Asian country.

India, according to The Economist, has much to learn from China about using its international migrants, who bring business, contacts, and profit for the homeland.