This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at:

Friday, September 23, 2016

Recent Refugees Arriving in Austria Tend to be Young and Well-Educated

Thanks to Debbie Fugate for pointing me to a paper just published in PLOS ONE by researchers at the Vienna Institute for Demography and IIASA. They were able to interview a sample of more than 500 refugees arriving in Vienna in 2015 coming mainly from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. 
This survey, the first of its kind in Austria and possibly in Europe, was carried out among adult displaced persons, mostly residing in Vienna, yielding 514 completed interviews. Information gathered on spouses and children allows for the analysis of 972 persons living in Austria, and of further 419 partners and children abroad. Results indicate that the surveyed population comprised mainly young families with children, particularly those coming from Syria and Iraq. Their educational level is high compared with the average level in their country of origin.
The authors caution that this is a small sample from the 88,000 people who applied for asylum in Austria in 2015, but they used a variety of tools to validate the underlying demographics of the people interviewed. Like most people showing up in Austria, these refugees largely got to Europe through Turkey, and then into Austria from Hungary, which is just south of Vienna. Additionally, the age structure of the sample (see below) is very similar to the profile of refugees in Europe by age and sex put together a few months ago by the State Department's Humanitarian Information Unit, which I discussed at the time

As you would expect, the vast majority of refugees from these three countries were Muslim, but responses to questions about issues such as gender equity suggested a more moderate view than might be guessed by political rhetoric in Europe and the United States. In general, the results suggest that this refugee crisis is replicating the usual pattern of selective migration.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Undocumented Haitian Migrants to US Now Facing Deportation

Following the massive earthquake in Haiti in January of 2010, the United States stopped deporting Haitians back to the island, regardless of their legal status in the U.S., out of a humanitarian concern that Haiti could not accommodate their return. However, the government announced today that the policy is about to shift--apparently pushed along by a new surge of undocumented Haitians coming north from Brazil, where the economy has gone south. Sandra Dibble and Kate Morrissey had the story in today's San Diego Union-Tribune.
So far this fiscal year, more than 5,000 Haitians without a U.S. visa have been processed by CBP officers at the San Diego Field Office, primarily at San Ysidro, compared with 339 in the previous year. 
Migrant assistance groups in Tijuana have become increasingly overwhelmed with the arrival of Haitians, a group rarely seen in the city until large numbers began arriving at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in late May. The great majority have traveled by land from Brazil, where they had gone to work after the earthquake, but faced growing hardship following the country’s economic downturn.
DHS officials speaking on background on Wednesday confirmed the new policy and said that it is effective as of today. Haitians who present themselves at the U.S. border can expect to be detained and processed under a provision of U.S. immigration law known as “expedited removal” that allows for their deportations without an appearance before an immigration judge—with exceptions made for those who express fear of returning to their home country.
“We will be treating inadmissible Haitians as we do nationals of other countries,” one said. Since 2014, U.S. deportation policy has placed priority on convicted felons, those with “significant or multiple misdemeanors” and those stopped without entry documents near the border or at ports of entry while trying to enter the United States.
This policy of course does not apply to most Haitians entering the country. Data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security indicate that an average of about 20,000 people per year from Haiti entered the U.S. as legal permanent residents between 2000 and 2014 (the last year for which data are available from DHS).