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.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Portugal's "Lost Generation"

Who would have guessed a few years ago that if you lived in Portugal your job opportunities might be better in the former colonies of Brazil, Angola, or Mozambique? Yet, a story in BBC News suggests that there is a new generation of young professionals in Portugal who are looking to these places for work, given the really tough economic times in which Portugal finds itself. This is sort of a brain drain in reverse (since it is usually the former colonies whose brains are drained).

One in 10 graduates now leaves the country, leading many to talking about Portugal's "lost generation".
"This is the biggest emigration wave since the 1960s," says Filipa Pinho of the government's newly established Emigration Observatory.
Portugal has traditionally exported some of its manpower - it has a diaspora around the world of three million. But in the past, it was blue-collar workers and villagers who left for a better life. Now it's the skilled and well-educated.It is a historic role reversal, because for decades Portugal lured immigrants from its former colonies in Latin America and Africa.
Note, however, that this situation might not be as bad for Portugal as it seems on the surface. As I noted here previously, sometimes the brain drain is really a brain gain. Or at least a gain of some kind which could mutually benefit Portugal and its former colonies--Portugal has the pressure taken off its labor market, and the former colonies are injected with professionals who may be able to make real difference in improving those economies.

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