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 13th (it will be out in January 2020), 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, June 8, 2012

Displaced Persons on the Rise Globally

Population growth in developing countries, especially in the face of regional conflict and resource issues, means that increasing numbers of people are finding it necessary to go somewhere else. These are among the not-so-happy conclusions from the recently released "State of the World's Refugees 2012" from the United National High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR). CBS News reported on the report:
The number of people fleeing their homes and becoming refugees or displaced in their own countries will increase in the next 10 years as a result of a host of intertwined causes ranging from conflict and climate change to population growth and food shortages, according to a report Thursday by the U.N. refugee agency.
"The State of the World's Refugees," covering the period 2006-2011, said a key change and dominant challenge is the increasing number of internally displaced people — some 26 million globally compared to around 15-16 million refugees who have crossed borders to another country and a further one million asylum seekers.
It said helping the internally displaced is becoming more costly and dangerous, citing Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq where access is difficult and conflict or criminality can present deadly risk.The 266-page report said experts predict that natural disasters, which are already displacing millions of people, will increase in number and intensity. And it said climate change is likely to increase conflict over scarce resources which could lead to an increase in internal displacement and refugees.
"Global trends suggest that displacement will not only continue in the future but will take different forms," the report said, citing predictions that global population will increase from 7 billion today to over 10 billion by 2100, with most of the increase in Africa and Asia where increased poverty is likely to squeeze resources and send young people from rural areas to cities.
At a news conference launching the report, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said "a multiplication of new crises ... led to the fact that last year, we had the highest number of new refugees in the last decade."
Unfortunately, we don't really have a global plan for dealing with this. No matter the reason for moving, the arrival of migrants creates problems for local communities, and these problems are increasingly occurring in the Global South. The UN Population Division reports that between 1990 and 2010 "the increase in the migrant stock in the South was entirely fuelled by migrants from the South. In the past 20 years, the foreign-born population in the less developed regions increased by 13 million (18 per cent), all of whom originated in the South."

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