Common assumptions that international migration has generally increased in volume, diversity, and geographical scope generally do not hold, according to this latest working paper.
The study by Mathias Czaika and Hein de Haas addresses the question ‘Has the world really become more migratory?’ and will be presented at the ‘Migration: Global Development, New Frontiers’ conference in April 2013.
The findings show that globally the intensity of international migration has not accelerated but main shifts in migration patterns have been directional, as is the case with Europe changing from a continent of emigration to one of immigration. These shifts are linked to major geopolitical and economic transformations, such as the rise of new ‘migration magnets’ and the lifting of emigration restrictions.
The study also found that globally there has been an increase in immigration diversification, but a minimal increase in emigration diversification. That is, migration is occurring from an increasingly diverse array of origin countries but to a shrinking pool of prime destination countries such as those of Europe and the Gulf region. The authors argue that this skewing of the global migration map reflects the highly asymmetric nature of globalisation processes.
The research was based on an analysis of data from the Global Bilateral Migration Database, and proposes a Migration Globalisation Index to capture changes in the spread, distance and intensity of migration processes at the global and country level.
Dr Mathias Czaika, co-author of the study, said: “Has the world become more migratory? The answer both is yes and no.
“We perceive through the media that migration is increasing, but the global migration rate has actually declined since the 1960s. This very crude measure shows that in relative terms it [the global migration rate] is rather stable, but this varies greatly when you look at different countries and world regions.”