Changing trends of world migration
The world’s population is on the move and we are standing at the precipice of a new global culture. Multiculturalism or internationalism is the buzzword for communication today, as much for the shrinking global economy as it is for the changing migrant data and demographics. 3% of the world population or 214 million people are said to have lived outside their country of origin in 2010, a staggering number which has only risen in the subsequent years. While work related moves have been a major consideration, there are also increasing statistics for moves as a result of violence, natural disaster, extreme weather situations and inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities in home countries.
A glimpse into the migration statistics
A study conducted by researchers in Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, Vienna showed incredible results. Tracing the global migrations over 20 years, they have analyzed the changing patterns for 75% of human migration from 2005-2010, from over 150 countries. It is interesting to note the trends reported in this study for these define the present and the future of global migration. One thing that immediately stands out is that it is not the poorest countries but the middle income ones (where the per capita annual income varies between $1,036 and $12,615), which have sent more migrants to the developed economies.
Regional migration patterns
While the US is still the largest single migrant destination, regional migration trends show that there has been a massive population shift from the Southeast Asia to the Middle East in the last decade. Again, while there has been a steady stream of people from Mexico to the US, recent years have seen a marked increase of migration from other Latin American countries, a direct result of escalating violence in the region. Shifting focus to Africa, one can see more attention being paid to migration beyond the continent but the truth of the matter is that the figure for migration within the sub-Saharan African region is much higher.
Migrations from developing nations to robust economies like the US and Germany is a dominant factor. The latter part of the last decade saw Asia overtaking South America in migration, with 45% new immigrants to the U.S. resulting from these nations in 2012. This is an interesting and important development for this trend will not just cause demographic shift but impact the economies of these countries as well. In the past Latin American immigrants who dominated the ratio, represented a population that was on average, poorer and less educated than native-born Americans. In terms of employment they would seek low wage manual labor instead of the white collar jobs.
The Asian immigrants, on the other hand, are not only more educated, qualified and wealthier than their South American counterparts but also the native-born Americans. So while foreign-born population is growing in the developed nations, there is a distinct paradigm shift as well in terms of economic control and distribution of wealth. Their progress has been gradual but these Asian immigrants are no longer residing in the peripheral fringes but are fast becoming part of mainstream societies.
The European Union has been a major destination for international migration for decades. While the numbers ebbed during the economic crisis, they are showing an upward rise with Germany leading the charts. While 23% of the world’s migrants chose Europe as a destination in 2010, 33.3 million foreign citizens were said to be residing in the EU by 2011. There have also been distinct changes in intra-EU migration during this time. Not only have the number of citizens of new Member States increased, the direction of global migration flows have also shifted. For example, countries like Ireland and Turkey, which were once source countries of migration, become destination countries of migration today. This historical development is pitted with internal migration within countries, primarily from rural to urban areas leading to explosion of cities around the world.
Understanding the changing demographics
Changes in the migration pattern has led to the development of internationalism and the evolving of the socio-cultural behavior that demands change in both immigrants and the native born population in the destination countries. These not only define social responses, but impact economic decisions as well as contemporary policy making. There are changes in the public perceptions on the impact of immigration globally along with increased recognition and accommodation of diversity through various migration and multiculturalism policies. A deeper look into these patterns is warranted for this will provide future immigrants an idea of the market demands, growing opportunities and ways to settle in with diverse communities better.