I think that it is safe to say that without the violence in Syria (it seems too complicated to call it simply a civil war) there would not be the influx of migrants into Europe that we are seeing. Migrants, yes--but not this volume. The two countries that support Assad and thus implicitly have helped to prolong conflict--Iran and Russia--are not too heavily affected by the refugee problem, so they aren't as bothered as is Europe--especially the corridor from Greece up to Scandinavia. Those corridor countries are struggling. Sweden instituted border controls recently in order to be able to check identities of would-be asylum seekers. This took place especially at the bridge connecting Copenhagen, Denmark with Malmo, Sweden. This hasn't gone down well with commuters between the two cities, who apparently rioted over this. The Danes responded to the Swedish action with their own set of border controls along their southern border with Germany.
All of this comes in conjunction with New Year's Eve attacks on women in Cologne that were reportedly carried out by a group of males who appeared to be of Northern African origin. As NPR reported this morning, that investigation is still ongoing, but there do appear to have been asylum seekers among the attackers, and this has obviously caused a lot of concern in Germany and elsewhere. The point remains, though, that the problem will not go away until the Mess in the Middle East is dealt with more successfully.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org