... According to the Migration and Remittances Factbook 2008, immigrants tend to flow from poor to wealthy countries. For this reason, many people assume that it is the poor rather than the rich people in these poor countries who wish to migrate. Gallup Poll data clearly reveal that this is not the case.
People may also assume that personal poverty fuels migration because they confuse economic dissatisfaction with economic deprivation. In poor and wealthy countries, the Gallup Polls show that people who say they are dissatisfied with their standard of living are more likely than those who say they are satisfied with their standard of living to report that they would like to migrate. However, dissatisfaction with one's standard of living is not the same as poverty. In fact, statistical analyses of personal income and satisfaction with one's standard of living revealed that each of these variables was uniquely associated with the reported desire to migrate. Within a given country, it is those who are wealthy and dissatisfied with their standard of living who are more likely to report that they wish to migrate.
Explaining interstate migration appears to be similar to models of US domestic migration. People who are relatively the wealthiest and best educated tend to move the longest distances. The levels of education and lifetime income are positively correlated, which shouldn't be news to anyone. The crux of the misperception:
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ...
The stereotype of migrants is one of desperation, not a person of means making a rationale choice. Any community that does a good job of improving the station of the next generation is likely to spur out-migration, a.k.a. brain drain. With each progressive graduation, the more likely a young adult is to leave. Until taxpayers wrap their heads around this fact of life, I expect the annual march of misguided migration policy to continue.