Why PoPulation Matters to Migration anD Urbanization
People are moving from place to place more than ever before. Rates of international migration are increasing, and more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities.1 Many personal, economic, and environmental factors drive migration, and the pressures of population growth often contribute to individuals’ decisions to move. Improving the status of women through increased access to reproductive health care in rural and urban areas can affect migration and urbanization trends by reducing demand for public services and increasing employment and economic opportunities.
the State of Migration and Urbanization In 2010, more than 200 million people—about 3 percent of the world’s population—lived in a country different from the one in which they were born, and internal migration within countries continues at high levels.2 International migrants, who may move permanently or temporarily to another country, are equally likely to be men or women.3 About 10 percent of the population of developed countries is comprised of international migrants, who commonly migrate for economic reasons. Less than 10 percent of international migrants are refugees from conflict.4 Nearly half of those who move from developing countries reside in other developing countries, usually one that shares a border.5 Australia/New Zealand and other Pacific countries, North America and Western Europe have the greatest share of international migrants within their populations, while Polynesia and Central America see the greatest share of their residents migrate abroad.6 Migration is often equated with international movement, but migration within countries, primarily from rural to urban areas, accounts for
a much greater share of the movement within human populations than international migration. As of 2009, more than half of the world’s population lived in urban areas. Urbanization is commonly associated with mega-cities (cities with over 10 million inhabitants), but the majority
of the world’s urban population lives in cities with fewer than 500,000 inhabitants.7 The United Nations Population Division projects that the global urban population will almost double from 3.5 to 6.3 billion by 2050 (Figure 1), assuming that fertility rates decline
FIGURE 1: Urbanization Continues Across All Regions
North America and Latin America projected to remain most urbanized despite highest urban growth rate in Asia and Africa 100 World 80 Africa Asia Europe 40 Latin America and the Caribbean Central America Northern America 0 1 0 95 1 0 96 70 80 90 00 10 20 30 40 50 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 Year
Source: United Nations Population Division. 2010. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2009 Revision. New York: UN Population Division.
Year se eDucatIon & labor Poverty fooD securIty MIgratIon & urbanIzatIon securIty clIMate cHange bIoDIversIty forest ange bIoDIversIty forests Water Maternal HealtH InfectIous DIsease eDucatIon & labor Poverty fooD securIty MIgr overty fooD securIty MIgratIon & urbanIzatIon securIty clIMate cHange bIoDIversIty forests Water Maternal Healt
FIGURE 2: Oceania, Northern America and Europe Have Highest Share of International Migrants 18 16.8 14.2 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 3.1 1.9 1.5 9.5
Total Population 2010 (%)
from 17 to 52 percent higher than those of native-born women. However, this effect diminishes over time: Within as few as 10 years, the average number of children among most groups of immigrants from higher-fertility countries declines to the level of their peers in the receiving country.13 Migration also has economic effects on developing countries, particularly through remittances, or money sent from international migrants to their families at home. In 2009, a total of $316 billion in remittances was sent to developing regions; in nine countries, these sums exceeded one-fifth of national gross domestic product.14 In many countries, remittances are very effective at reducing poverty in the families of those who have migrated, and, to a lesser degree, in their surrounding communities.15 Although the extended absence of migrants challenges families and communities, migration can also have positive social benefits, especially for girls. In rural Pakistan, where girls are generally underrepresented in school enrollment rates, girls from migrant households are healthier, more likely to stay in school, and are less likely to be sent to work.16
Source: United Nations Population Division. 2009. International Migrant Stock : The 2008 Revision. New York: UN Population Division.
in developing countries. This increase age structure in three ways: through in the number of people living in the numerical size of the immigrant cities would be equal to the current population, the concentration of populations of China, India and the immigrants among the working-age United States combined. Most of this adult population, and the fertility rate urban growth will take place in Asia among immigrants. and Africa.8 Urban Fertility Rates are Typically Lower than FIGURE 3:
T (200 anzan 1-2 ia 005 )
Rep Demo ub cra Con lic of tic t go (200 he 7)
Links between Population and international Migration Given the significant number of people moving to new countries in some regions, migration will shape future demographic trends (Figure 2). By 2050, between 15 and 36 percent of the population of various countries in Western Europe is projected to be of “foreign origin.”11 International migration impacts a receiving country’s
(200 Keny 8-1 a 009 )
The movement of people from Rural Fertility Rates Urban populations generally benefit developing to developed countries 8 from higher incomes and better access can lessen the economic effects 7 to health care services compared with of population aging in 7.1 low-fertility 7 6.5 rural areas, but disparities remain countries. As large numbersUrban of a Rural 6 between the rich and poor within cities. 6 country’s citizens move into retirement, 5.4 5.2 labor force shrinks, putting a strain Informal settlements and slums—which the 5 house more than 1 billion of the world’s on the economy. Migrants are usually 4.4 urban dwellers—are often not equipped of working age and fill employment 4 3.6 with basic sanitation systems. Across gaps in labor sectors. If all international 2.9 migration ended immediately, the sub-Saharan Africa, more than half 3 2.4 of the urban population lives in areas working-age population of developed 2 where access to basic infrastructure, countries would decline by more such as 1 private toilets, is limited.9 One than 20 percent between 2005 study found that the child mortality rate and 2050.12 Migration, however, is in Nairobi’s slums was far higher than 0 unlikely to reach the vast scale needed the rural child mortality rate.10 to completely offset the demographic effects of lower fertility rates. Total Fertility Rate
Eth iop (200 ia 5)
Am Latin eri Car and thca ibb e e an
No Am rthern eric a
International migration also alters a country’s age structure because migrant women often have higher fertility rates than women in the receiving countries. Migrants’ fertility rates are much more related to their socioeconomic status or the norms and values of their country of origin than to factors such as religion. A review of surveys from 1991 through 2005 found that fertility rates among immigrant women in Europe ranged
Links between Population and Urbanization As populations progress through the demographic transition—the change over time from higher to lower mortality and fertility rates—fertility tends to decline earlier and at a more rapid pace in urban areas. Demographic household surveys conducted in subSaharan Africa since 2000 show that urban fertility rates are lower than those in rural areas by at least one child per woman in 22 of 23 countries, as Figure 3 shows for five countries in East Africa.17 This disparity in fertility between urban and rural areas tends to diminish as countries progress to lower overall fertility rates.18 In cities, a number of factors contribute to lower fertility rates. These include higher costs of raising children, a more educated population, higher age at marriage and greater access to contraception.19
Uga n (200 da 6)
ts Water Maternal HealtH InfectIous DIsease eDucatIon & labor Poverty fooD securIty MIgratIon & urbanIzatIon s Latin America and 40 ratIon & urbanIzatIon securIty clIMate cHange bIoDIversIty forests Water Maternal HealtH InfectIous DIsease eDu the Caribbean ltH InfectIous DIsease eDucatIon & labor Poverty fooD securIty MIgratIon & urbanIzatIon securIty clIMate cHange 20 Central America Northern America 0 disasters, the environment is a direct Urban fertility rates, while lower than Oceania in rural areas, are still0 high 9enough010 020 030cause 0of migration; in others, such 40 50 50 960 97 1980 1 90 2000 2 to 2 9 1 20 2 2 1 1 as declining availability or quality of generate population growth. In many land for farming, it is one of many cities, average fertility rates stillYear exceed contributing factors. Those who migrate the replacement level (approximately for environmentally-induced reasons 2.1 children per woman). The growth are more likely to move to an urban of cities large and small is often thought location in their own country than to to be a result of migration. But more cross borders.22 urban population growth is due to natural increase from high birth rates FIGURE 2: Oceania, Northern America and Europe Have Highest than to urbanization itself.20 Share of International Migrants The impacts of climate change are likely to have an even greater influence 18 16.8 on migration. Diminished agricultural Forced16Migration capacity, increased frequency of 14.2 Millions 14 people have been displaced of extreme weather events such as by natural disasters and conflict. As 12 floods, and rise in sea level are likely climate change redraws coastlines to contribute to migrants’ decisions 9.5 10 and constrains natural resources, to move.23 Many adverse effects of 8 more people will be forced to move, climate change will be felt among 6 often to urban areas. Political turmoil people in the countries and regions and conflicts also displace many 4 3.1 least equipped to adapt. These include 1.9 people from their homes each year. 1.5 1.3 arid areas of sub-Saharan Africa, and 2 Worldwide, there are over 40 million flood-prone, low elevation coastal 0 refugees, internally displaced persons zones like Bangladesh—areas that also and asylum-seekers.21 have high rates of population growth.24
Total Population 2010 (%)
Conflicts and violence around the world also continue to displace people, moving them into temporary displacement or refugee camps, or to urban slums where access to quality reproductive health services is limited. In Africa, almost half of all countries are experiencing current or recent conflict.27 Forced migration due to conflict has a negative impact on developing economies and the government’s ability to provide lifesaving services. Today, the average length of displacement from conflict for refugees is 17 years.28
The envIRonMenT and ClIMaTe Change
Although individual well-being and economic opportunity are often driving forces for migration, environmental factors also play an underlying role. In some cases, such as natural
By one projection, 200 million people could be displaced by flooding, droughts, changing weather patterns and other impacts of climate change.25 This environmental displacement would result in an estimated one in 45 people worldwide being displaced by climate change.26
Policy Considerations Population growth and high fertility rates in rural and urban areas will have significant impacts on migration, economic development and the environment. Migration and urbanization trends should be considered in plans to address workforce shortages in countries that send and receive large numbers of internal and international migrants. As urbanization continues, the infrastructure for health and other social services in cities needs to improve, and resources should be used more efficiently to meet the needs of growing populations. Improving access to family planning and reproductive health care services in both rural and urban areas can help address some of factors that contribute to migration and urbanization, as well as benefit individuals, communities and the environment. Urbanization combined with high fertility rates and low contraceptive use contributes to rapid population growth. In both urban and rural settings, marginalized populations lack access to reproductive health information and services. Lack of access is often compounded for those who live in rural areas far from the nearest health care facility, or who lack legal recognition in urban slums without local services. The needs of these marginalized populations should be taken into account when designing programs and services to address the population impacts of migration and urbanization.
FIGURE 3: Urban Fertility Rates are Typically Lower than Rural Fertility Rates 8 7 6 7 6 5.4 5.2 4.4 3.6 2.4 2.9 7.1 6.5
Total Fertility Rate
5 4 3 2 1
T (200 anzan 1-2 ia 005 )
Rep Demo ub cra Con lic of tic t go (200 he 7) (200 Keny 8-1 a 009 ) Eth iop (200 ia 5)
Source: MEASURE DHS. Demographic and Health Surveys. Various countries, most recent year available. http://www.measuredhs.com/countries/. Accessed 15 December 2010.
Uga n (200 da 6)
Am Latin anderica Car ibb the ean
No Am rthern eric a
HealtH InfectIous DIsease eDucatIon & labor Poverty fooD securIty MIgratIon & urbanIzatIon securIty clIMate cHa aternal HealtH InfectIous DIsease eDucatIon & labor Poverty fooD securIty MIgratIon & urbanIzatIon securIty clIM Water Maternal HealtH InfectIous DIsease eDucatIon & labor Poverty fooD securIty MIgratIon & urbanIzatIon secu
endnotes 1 International Organization for Migration. 2010. Facts & Figures. http://www. iom.int/jahia/Jahia/about-migration/facts-and-figures/lang/en; Accessed 29 December 2010; United Nations (UN) Population Division. 2010. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2009 Revision. New York: UN Population Division. 2 International Organization for Migration. 2010. 3 United Nations Population Division. 2009. International Migrant Stock : The 2008 Revision. New York: UN Population Division. 4 United Nations Population Division. 2006. International Migration 2006. New York: UN Population Division. 5 UN Population Division. 2006; Ratha, D and W Shaw. 2007. “South-South Migration and Remittances.” World Bank Working Paper No. 102. Washington, DC: World Bank. 6 UN Population Division. 2006. UN Population Division. 2010. 7 Ibid. 8 United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). 2004. The State of 9 the World’s Cities 2004/2005. London: UN-HABITAT. 10 Montgomery, M and P Hewett. 2005. “Urban Poverty and Health in Developing Countries: Household and Neighborhood Effects.” Demography 42(3): 397-425. 11 Coleman, D. 2006. “Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries: A Third Demographic Transition.” Population and Development Review 32(3): 401446. 12 UN Population Division. 2010. 13 Sobotka, T. 2008. “The Rising Importance of Migrants for Childbearing in Europe.” Demographic Research 19(9): 225-248. Ratha, D. 2010. “Remittance Flows to Developing Countries Remained Resilient 14 in 2009, Expected to Recover During 2010-11.” World Bank. http://blogs. worldbank.org/peoplemove/remittance-flows-to-developing-countries-remainedresilient-in-2009-expected-to-recover-during-2010. Accessed 2 February 2011; Ratha, D, S Mohapatra and Z Xu. 2008. Migration and Development Brief 8. Washington, DC: World Bank. Acosta, P, P Fajnzylber and J Humberto Lopez. 2007. “The Impact of Remittances on 15 Poverty and Human Capital: Evidence from Latin American Household Surveys.” In Ozden, C and M Schiff, eds. International Migration, Economic Development and Policy. Washington, DC: World Bank. Mansuri, G. 2007. “Does Work Migration Spur Investment in Origin Communities? 16 Entrepreneurship, Schooling and Child Health in Rural Pakistan.” In Ozden, C and M Schiff, eds. International Migration, Economic Development and Policy. Washington, DC: The World Bank.
17 18 19
21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28
MEASURE DHS. Various years. Demographic and Health Surveys. http://www. measuredhs.com/countries/start.cfm. Accessed 7 April 2010. Kreider, A, D Shapiro, C Varner and M Sinha. 2009. “Socioeconomic Progress and Fertility Transition in the Developing World: Evidence from the Demographic and Health Surveys.” University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University. Mace, R. 2008. “Reproducing in Cities.” Science 319(5864): 764-766; Adhikari, R. 2010. “Demographic, Socio-economic and Cultural Factors Affecting Fertility Differentials in Nepal.” BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 10(19); White, M J, S Muhidin, C Andrzejewski, E Tagoe, R Knight and H Reed. 2008. “Urbanization and Fertility: An Event-History Analysis of Coastal Ghana.” Demography 45(4): 803816. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). 2007. State of the World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth. New York: UNFPA; Montgomery, M. 2008. “The Urban Transformation of the Developing World.” Science 319(8 February): 761-764. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2010. Statistical Yearbook 2009. Geneva: UNHCR; International Organization for Migration 2010. Morton, A, P Boncour and F Laczko. 2008. “Human Security Policy Changes.” Forced Migration Review 31: 5-7. Morton, Boncour and Laczko. 2008. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2007. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). 2007. Global Outlook for Ice and Snow. Nairobi: UNEP; McGranahan, G, D Balk and B Anderson. 2007. “The Rising Tide: Assessing the Risks of Climate Change and Human Settlements in Low Elevation Coastal Zones.” Environment and Urbanization 19(1): 17-37; McGranahan, G, D Balk and B Anderson. 2007. “Climate Change and the Risk of Settlement in the Low Elevation Coastal Zone.” IHDP Update 2007: 12-14; World Bank. 1999. World Development Report. Washington, D.C.: World Bank. Myers, N. 2005. “Environmental Refugees: An Emergent Security Issue.” Presented at Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe 13th Economic Forum, Prague, 23-27 May. Brown, O. 2008. “The Numbers Game.” Forced Migration Review 31: 8-9. Gettleman, J. 2010. “Africa’s Forever Wars.” Foreign Policy (March/April). Ferris, E. 2008. “Natural Disaster- and Conflict-Induced Displacement: Similarities, Differences and Inter-Connections.” Presentation prepared for Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, March 27.
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