ArticlePDF Available

Global migration: getting the trends right

Authors:
  • Flemish Peace Institute
  • EU Institute for Security Studies

Abstract

Late in 2016, the UN started negotiations on a new global migration regime. For 20 years, the UN has struggled to mobilise its members to discuss migration, despite heavy support from less-developed economies in the ‘global South’ which see this as a means to gain access to labour markets in Europe and North America. The UN has finally managed to bring the ‘North’ to the table by pointing to the sheer volume of people on the move. But do its headline figures reveal the whole picture?
2
2017
Are more people than ever on the move?
million migrants
1965 20151995
75
161 244
18 23 28
41
40 36
75 83 105
161
191 244
1965 1975 1985 1995 2005 2015
Migrants (millions)
Overall figure of migrants
Migrants that have moved over the previous five years
of those classified
as migrants
by the UN in 2015 had left
their country of origin
five or more years ago
million refugees
were included in the UN 2015
migration figures
20
85%
of the global population
moved country in the period
2010-2015
0.49%
Global population
(billions)
1985
4.8
1995
5.7
1975
4.1
2015
7.3
1965
3.3
2005
6.5
Life expectancy at birth (years)
1965
55.3
1975
61
1985
64.2
1995
66.3
2005
69
2015
71.5
Migrants that have moved over the previous five years
(percentage of the global population)
1965 1975 1985 1995 2005 2015
0.55
0.56 0.58
0.72 0.62
0.49
Global migration: getting the trends right
European Union Institute for Security Studies April 2017 1
Late in 2016, the UN started negotiations on a new global migration regime. For 20 years, the UN has struggled to mobilise its
members to discuss migration, despite heavy support from less-developed economies in the ‘global South’ which see this as a
means to gain access to labour markets in Europe and North America. The UN has finally managed to bring the ‘North’ to the table
by pointing to the sheer volume of people on the move. But do its headline figures reveal the whole picture?
UN figures record 244 million people on the move worldwide – the largest number ever. But if there are indeed more people on the
move globally, then this is only because there are more people. The global stock of migrants is forever expanding as people everywhere
live longer, but the percentage of the current global population that has moved in the last five years is actually small and decreasing.
Compiled by: Roderick Parkes, Senior Analyst, and Annelies Pauwels, Junior Analyst at the EUISS.
Data sources: UNHCR Population Statistics; UN Population Division; World Bank; World Health Organisation; G.J. Abel, ‘Estimates of global bilateral migration flows by gender between 1960 and
2015’ (forthcoming, 2017); Pew Research Center, ‘More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the US’ (November 2015).
Countries of the global South have much more in common with the North than they did 20 years ago when it comes to immigration.
As they and their neighbours grow wealthier, they have themselves become countries of transit and destination. South-South mi-
gration is one of the great opportunities of global development, but also a potential disruptor. For this reason, the EU will have to
look beyond its traditional allies in the North when it comes to migration control.
Data sources: UNHCR Population Statistics; UN Population Division; World Bank; World Health Organisation; G.J. Abel, ‘Estimates of global bilateral migration flows by gender between 1960 and 2015’ (forthcoming, 2017);
Pew Research Center, ‘More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the US’ (November 2015).
MERCOSUR
24%
South America
EU
50%
Europe
ASEAN
32% SAARC
17%
AsiaNorth America
Do people move only South to North?
Top three South-South and South-North migration flows 2010-2015 (millions)*
Intra-regional migration flows (2010-2015)
South-South flows
South-North flows
Europe
South Asia -South Asia
West Asia
3.5
1.3
Africa-Africa
North America
1.3
3.1
Latin America
Africa
1.8
2.1
Traditional and emerging receiving countries
Traditional receiving countries
Emerging receiving countries
Unexpected receiving countries
NAFTA
65%
Former Soviet Union
CIS
72%
SADC
53%
ECOWAS
44%
EAC
40%
Africa
1965
1995
2015
5.1 4.7
16.3 14.6
17.2 13
* Note: The global South and North are defined according to the UNDESA classification whereby the ‘North’ includes Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and the ‘South’ all the other regions of the world.
Bangladesh currently hosts
between 300,000 and
500,000 Rohingya refugees
from Burma/Myanmar
Many Filipino workers are
returning home, and
increasing numbers of South
Koreans are migrating to the
Philippines for business,
retirement and educational
purposes
Percentage of the region’s migrants that stay within the territory of their respective regional integration body
Mexico
US
2009-2014
Mexico-US: 870,000
US-Mexico: 1 million
1995-2000
Mexico-US: 3 million
US-Mexico: 670,000
South Sudan is receiving
growing numbers of
humanitarian aid workers
due to increasing
development funding
Central
America
South America
Data sources: UNHCR Population Statistics; UN Population Division; World Bank; World Health Organisation; G.J. Abel, ‘Estimates of global bilateral migration flows by gender between 1960 and 2015’ (forthcoming, 2017);
Pew Research Center, ‘More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the US’ (November 2015).
MERCOSUR
24%
South America
EU
50%
Europe
ASEAN
32% SAARC
17%
AsiaNorth America
Do people move only South to North?
Top three South-South and South-North migration flows 2010-2015 (millions)*
Intra-regional migration flows (2010-2015)
South-South flows
South-North flows
Europe
South Asia -South Asia
West Asia
3.5
1.3
Africa-Africa
North America
1.3
3.1
Latin America
Africa
1.8
2.1
Traditional and emerging receiving countries
Traditional receiving countries
Emerging receiving countries
Unexpected receiving countries
NAFTA
65%
Former Soviet Union
CIS
72%
SADC
53%
ECOWAS
44%
EAC
40%
Africa
1965
1995
2015
5.1 4.7
16.3 14.6
17.2 13
* Note: The global South and North are defined according to the UNDESA classification whereby the ‘North’ includes Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, and the ‘South’ all the other regions of the world.
Bangladesh currently hosts
between 300,000 and
500,000 Rohingya refugees
from Burma/Myanmar
Many Filipino workers are
returning home, and
increasing numbers of South
Koreans are migrating to the
Philippines for business,
retirement and educational
purposes
Percentage of the region’s migrants that stay within the territory of their respective regional integration body
Mexico
US
2009-2014
Mexico-US: 870,000
US-Mexico: 1 million
1995-2000
Mexico-US: 3 million
US-Mexico: 670,000
South Sudan is receiving
growing numbers of
humanitarian aid workers
due to increasing
development funding
Central
America
South America
European Union Institute for Security Studies April 2017 2
© EU Institute for Security Studies. Graphic design by Metropolis Lisbon.
Article
Full-text available
The article researches the trends of international capital movement in general and in the leading economies in the current decade. Besides advanced economies, the article considers BRICS, CIS and EEU states as well as offshores. It is argued that while the capital flows (likewise international trade, labor migration and knowledge exchange) are forming the future of the world economy, the current stance and future of the leading world economies basically determine the volumes and distribution of the capital flows. This asymmetrical interdependence of the dynamics of international capital flows and world economy is researched on the basis of available current examples. The forecast is made that in the coming years the growth of volumes of international capital flows is questionable. Anyway, the share of emerging economies will be increasing, especially at the expense of BRICS countries (particularly China). The article also forecasts that US role in international capital inflow would be positively impacted by US tax reform, on the one hand, and negatively touched by US political instability, on the other hand. It is noted that in spite of Brexit and the failure of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership project, the principal partners of the EU countries in the sphere of international capital flows remain the UK and USA. The developed Asian countries will retain their position of net capital exporters. As for CIS countries, foreign capital inflows will be shifting to such countries as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, while the share of Russia in FDI inflows will be decreasing.
Article
Full-text available
Sharp and unpredictable shifts in population movements, imperfection and incompleteness of international migration statistics, regular revisions by the UN Population Division of previous estimates of the international migrant stock complicate assessing the current state and forecasting future developments in this field. Nevertheless, there are obvious changes in geography, dynamics, composition and forms of modern migration occurring in the context of the polycentric and, at the same time, transnational and increasingly interconnected world entering the period of globalization reformatting, economic turbulence and uncertainty, the growth of socio-political conflict, the establishment of postmodern social values and attitudes. These shifts outline the contours of a new model emerging in the global migration space. The territorial mobility of people is growing in the whole, but this process is multi-speed. The non-migration mobility is increasing noticeably. However, modern flows of long-term migrants are weakening, and the growth in their number is slowing. This indicates a decrease in migration activity. The role of settlement is likely to decline in the new migration paradigm. Migration is becoming increasingly fluid and incomplete. With the spread of temporary and circular movements occurring generally in developed regions, in the EU in particular, frontier and hybrid patterns of movements arise. They combine elements of short-term and long-term migration and those of non-migration mobility. The diversity of migrants and receiving population is growing. The development of these processes requires an improvement of migration statistics, as well as reforming the integration policies. A new geography of migration is being construed. It is characterized by the shift of human flows to the global South and their regionalization on the basis of integration platforms. The regionalization of movements in the South requires working-out and implementation of immigration and integration policies by developing States and the development of sub-global mechanisms for regulating human flows as well. Moreover, the architecture design of the global population movements' governance should be adjusted to the emerging migration model.
Article
Full-text available
Regionalization of migration is not a new phenomenon, which is developing alongside its globalization. The globalization of migration driven by the increased migration interdependence between labor-surplus and laborshortage countries, is manifested in the growth of the number of countries participating in the population exchange and the number of international migrants, foundation of the support framework of the global migration governance, etc. At the same time, the level of liberalization of migration flows is significantly lower than that of commercial and financial flows. The territorial mobility is reducing, that may be seen as a symptom of the attenuation of globalization of people’s movements. The aggravation of contradictions between sending and receiving countries hinders the development of global migration governance. In contrast the regionalization of migration has been increasing markedly over the previous decades. It is being revealed in the growth of people’s movements on the territories of the global North and even more in areas of the South which house more migrants from the developing regions of the world than the North. The enlargement of regional flows leads to the emergence of the major donors of migrants in the North and major recipients of migrants in the South as well as enhances the relevance of the consequences of emigration for the sending countries in the North and the effects of immigration for the receiving countries in the South. The low efficiency of unilateral measures of migration governance and the lack of global partnership in this field make increasingly important the regulation of population movements at the sub-global level. The cooperation between the countries concerned is being carried out both in a formal format within the integration associations and by means of informal regional consultative process. The rules governing migration issues are being increasingly included into regional multilateral agreements. The most developed regional regulation system of migration is created have within the EU, followed with a wide margin by the MERCOSUR, ЕАEU and ASEAN. Although the regional consultative process is not binding for participating countries, it contributes to moving from de facto to de jure policy coherence in migration governance. Given the inevitable obstacles to the territorial expansion of such regional organizations and to the creation of global alliances modelled on them, regional migration regulation will remain an integral element of the architecture of the future global governance.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any references for this publication.