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Global Migration in the 20th and 21st Centuries: the Unstoppable Force of Demography

Author

Listed:
  • Thu Dao

    (UCL IRES - Institut de recherches économiques et sociales - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain, Bielefeld University)

  • Frédéric Docquier

    (UCL IRES - Institut de recherches économiques et sociales - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain, FNRS - Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique [Bruxelles], FERDI - Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International)

  • Mathilde Maurel

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, FERDI - Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International)

  • Pierre Schaus

    (UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain)

Abstract

This paper sheds light on the global migration patterns of the past 40 years, and produces migration projections for the 21st century, for two skill groups, and for all relevant pairs of countries. To do this, we build a simple model of the world economy, and we parameterize it to match the economic and socio-demographic characteristics of the world in the year 2010. We conduct a backcasting exercise which demonstrates that our model fits the past trends in international migration very well, and that historical trends were mostly governed by demographic changes. We then describe a set of migration projections for the 21st century. In line with backcasts, our world migration prospects and emigration rates from developing countries are mainly governed by socio-demographic changes: they are virtually insensitive to the technological environment. As far as OECD countries are concerned, we predict a highly robust increase in immigration pressures in general (from 12 in 2010 to 17-19% in 2050 and 25-28%in 2100), and in European immigration in particular (from 15% in 2010 to 23-25% in 2050 and 36-39% in 2100). Using development policies to curb these pressures requires triggering unprecedented economic takeoffs in migrants countries of origin. Increasing migration is therefore a likely phenomenon for the 21st century, and this raises societal and political challenges for most industrialized countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Thu Dao & Frédéric Docquier & Mathilde Maurel & Pierre Schaus, 2018. "Global Migration in the 20th and 21st Centuries: the Unstoppable Force of Demography," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-01743799, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-01743799
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01743799
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Burzynski, Michal & de Melo, Jaime & Deuster, Christoph & Docquier, Frédéric, 2019. "Climate Change, Inequality, and Human Migration," CEPR Discussion Papers 13997, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    international migration; migration prospects; world economy; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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