Yesterday was International Migrants Day. I celebrated it by being out of town, but I didn't personally do any migrating. However, a lot of people do migrate all the time, and the Humanitarian Information Unit of the U.S. State Department has put together a very nice map, using UN data, to illustrate the truly global nature of international migration.
As you look at this infographic, a couple of points they make stand out. First of all, "only" 244 million of today's 7.4 billion people are international migrants. Although it is a big number, it is actually a pretty small fraction of the total, given the amount of fuss and bother that is caused by migration. Secondly, the majority of migrants are relocating to places within their own region, so the spatial scope of international migration is also more limited than it might seem from the press coverage it receives.
Of course, the issues surrounding migration are what make even proportionately small numbers seem big. No matter where people migrate, they are apt to be perceived as being different in some way that will lead to discrimination. Furthermore, some of those immigrants will wind up not being very integrated into their host society and that will exacerbate local xenophobic tendencies. This is always made more difficult when the immigrants are refugees or asylum seekers (25 million, as you can see), meaning that they have left a lot of their life (and probably loved ones) behind, perhaps never to return. The situation in Aleppo cannot do anything but break your heart, for example.
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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