Inside-Out Countries - Source List

The table below contains hyperlinks to sources used to construct the infographics in the story When a Country’s Biggest City Lies Outside Its Borders. As stressed in the article, no one source exists listing city-level data on migrant stocks, and so the author found estimates from a combination of international organizations, national and municipal government censuses, media organizations and other sources on a nation-by-nation and city-by-city basis. As a result, the data are all estimates, and some estimates have greater reliability than others, but the general trend is nevertheless important.

Hollow NationCity 1 SourceCity 2 SourceCity 3 SourceCity 4 Source
PALESTINIAN TERRITORIESRefugee camps in JordanGaza, Palestinian territories Refugee camps in SyriaRefugee camps in Lebanon
MALTADetroit, USABirkirkara, MaltaMelbourne, AustraliaToronto, Canada
SURINAMEParamaribo, SurinameAmsterdam, NetherlandsRotterdam, NetherlandsLelydorp, Suriname
ARMENIAYerevan, ArmeniaMoscow, RussiaSochi, RussiaGyumri, Armenia
NEPALKathmandu, NepalKuala Lumpur, MalaysiaChennai, IndiaDoha, Qatar

The selection of countries featured in the infographics was made to feature some of the most interesting global migration stories, but a shortlist of other ‘hollow nations’ was made by calculating the size of a country’s diaspora as a proportion of total population using UN migrant stock data. This analysis identified several other hollow nations with concentrated diasporas in certain foreign countries and cities, including:

  • Albania (in cities in Greece & Italy);
  • Bangladesh (in cities in Saudi Arabia & the UAE);
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina (in cities in Serbia & Croatia);
  • Cape Verde (in Lisbon, Portugal; Massachusetts, USA; and Rotterdam, the Netherlands);
  • The Domincan Republic (primarily in New York City, USA);
  • El Salvador (primarily in Los Angeles, USA);
  • Sri Lanka (in Dubai & Abu Dhabi, the UAE; and London, UK);
  • Syria (across Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and various other refugee destinations); and
  • Tonga (in cities in New Zealand).



Numbers and factoids — fodder for your next cocktail party.