Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Demography and Migration: An Outlook for the 21st Century

Economic and demographic disparities will shape the mobility of labor and skills during the 21st century. The populations of richer societies in Europe, North America, and East Asia are aging rapidly, and some are already shrinking in absolute terms. At the same time, working-age populations will continue to grow in some emerging economies and in most low-income countries. In a new policy brief, Demography and Migration: An Outlook for the 21st Century, MPI Nonresident Scholar Rainer Münz, who served as a member of the European Union’s high-level Reflection Group “Horizon 2020-2030,” notes that despite these trends, many highly developed countries and emerging economies continue to assume that today’s demographic realities will persist — and are thus unprepared for the future. International migration and internal mobility represent one way of addressing the growing demographic, and persisting economic, disparities. People will continue to move from youthful to aging societies, and from poorer to richer regions. The current geography of migration will, however, change. On the one hand, emerging markets with higher economic growth will provide domestic alternatives to international migration. Some of today’s major sources of migrants may begin to absorb most of their new labor-force entrants into their own economies. A few — including China and Korea — will themselves enter the global race for talent, and may become more attractive destinations for migrant workers than some traditional immigrant-receiving countries still enduring low (or no) economic growth and high unemployment rates. These realities have important implications for policymakers with respect to migration, integration, development, and other policies. This policy brief is the fourth in a series being published by the Migration Policy Institute in advance of the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, which will take place Oct. 3 – 4. Earlier briefs question the assumption of “brain drain” when skilled migrants emigrate, examine what is known about environmental change-induced displacement, and assess whether respect for migrants’ rights brings economic benefits.

Read the briefs and other MPI research on migration and development here.


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