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Migration and Globalization

What challenges does migration pose to the world economy and global security?

July 13, 2005

What challenges does migration pose to the world economy and global security?

Labor migration has steadily increased over the past decades. Yet, not all migration is international — and some of the biggest challenges come from domestic migrant workers moving from the countryside to cities. Our Globalist Factsheet explores how migration affects not only the global economy — but also issues ranging from social cohesion to security policy.

How large is the global migrant population?

As of 2004, roughly one in every 35 people is an international migrant. If they all lived in the same place, it would be the world’s fifth-largest country.
(International Organization for Migration)

Where do most migrants come from?

Between 1970 and 1995, the largest point of origin for migrants was Mexico — with a net outflow of 6 million people. Behind Mexico came Bangladesh (4.1 million), Afghanistan (4.1 million) and the Philippines (2.9 million).
(Financial Times)

How fast has the migrant population grown?

In 1990, there were an estimated 120 million international migrants. By 2000, there were an estimated 150-180 million.
(United Nations)

Where do most of them go?

As of 2002, Western industrialized countries absorbed about 40% of the world’s migrants.
(United Nations)

What are typical migrant destinations?

Between 1991 and 2001, the number of migrants arriving in the United States rose by 28%, compared with a 20.3% increase for Britain. In contrast, the number of people moving to Germany and Japan fell by 19.5% and 28.6%, respectively.

How are developing countries dependent on their migrant workers abroad?

As of 2002, migrants sent at least $88 billion in remittances to developing countries. That is over 50% more than the $57 billion those countries received in development aid.
(United Nations)

How else could migration support developing countries?

If rich nations opened 3% of their labor markets to temporary migrants — who then had to return home — it would generate $200 billion annually in wages.
(New York Times Magazine)

What migration effect do the ten new EU member countries expect?

The potential youth drain for the 10 new EU countries is estimated to be between 3% and 5% of all people who have achieved a university-level education — and more than 10% of the sending countries’ students.
(European Union)

Which EU countries have been the favorite destination for migrants?

As of 2000, net migration into the EU was highest in Italy (181,000) — followed by the United Kingdom (140,000) and Germany (105,000).
(European Union)

Why is migration such a crucial topic for China?

Between 2000 and 2010, 200 million Chinese migrants from the agricultural hinterland will move to towns and cities.
(United Nations)

Will that help China's economy to grow?

As of 2003, rural China has an estimated 150 million surplus farm workers whose migration to cities would help rationalize the supply of labor, feeding the manufacturing boom.
(Wall Street Journal)

Yet, what are the challenges?

As migration from the countryside continues, China will have to produce 280 million new jobs in urban areas over the next decade just to maintain the rate of unemployment achieved in 1995.
(National Times)

What is the situation in India?

As of 2004, in some parts of India, 75% of households include a migrant.
(Jawaharlal Nehru University)

How has this shaped India's cities?

As of 2003, New Delhi’s population increases by at least 500,000 people a year — half of them migrants looking for work.
(Far Eastern Economic Review)

Do Indians also migrate abroad?

As of 2003, the number of Indian migrants overseas accounts for less than 1% of India’s total workforce.
(Jawaharlal Nehru University)

And finally, is migration a dominantly male occurrence?

Women make up about 47.5% of all international migrants.
(United Nations)