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: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

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.

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