This course requires us to focus on both the Global pattern on Migration as well as a more EU specific focus.

Global migration patterns.

In recent times some of the best global migration studies have utlised flow graphs. The Graph below shows the different flow of migration.

Migration data is counted in two ways: Stock and flow. “The stocks are the number of migrants living in a country,” says Nikola Sander, one of the study’s authors. Stock is relatively easy to get—you just count who is in the country at a given point of time. Flow is trickier. It’s the rate of human traffic over time.

Keeping accurate account of where people are moving has stymied the UN, and researchers and policy-makers in general, for a while. The European Union keeps good track of migrant flows, but elsewhere the data are sparse. Static measurements are plentiful, but it is hard to use them to get a picture of how people are moving on a broad scale, because each country has its own methodology for collecting census data.

An interactive version of the graph is available here: http://www.global-migration.info/

Global Migration Flows

A global comparison of migration flows based on our estimates uncovers three striking features of the global migration system.

First, African migrants from sub-Saharan Africa (who represent the vast majority of African migrants) appear to have moved predominantly within the African continent. From 2005 to 2010, an estimated 665,000 migrants moved within Eastern Africa, and 1 million people moved within Western Africa. Our data indicate that it is the movements between the member countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union—especially Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and Guinea-Bissau—that drive this pattern (database S2). In contrast, the biggest flow from Western Africa to another continent comprised 277,000 people moving to Western Europe.

Second, migration flows originating in Asia and Latin America tended to be much more spatially focused than were flows out of Europe. Emigrants from South Asia and South-East Asia tend to migrate to Western Asia, North America, and to a lesser degree, Europe. Migrants from Latin America move almost exclusively to North America and Southern Europe. In contrast, migration to and from Europe is characterized by a much more diverse set of flows to and from almost all other regions in the world.

Third, although the largest flows occurred within or to neighbouring regions, the plot depicts numerous flows that go through the centre of the circle. These long-distance flows are effective in redistributing population to countries with higher income levels, whereas the return flows are negligible.

Will strong population growth in sub-Saharan Africa lead to mass migration from lower-income countries in Africa to higher-income countries in Europe and North America over the coming decades? Our findings provide evidence for a stable intensity of global migration flows and a concentration of African migration within the continent, with only a small percentage moving to the more developed countries in 1990 to 2010. Therefore, it seems unlikely that if these observed trends persist, emigration from Africa will play a key role in shaping global migration patterns in the future. Nevertheless, human capital and demographic trends create a considerable potential for change in the global migration system. If, for example, future population growth in sub-Saharan Africa were to be paralleled by a commensurate expansion in education, the growth of a more skilled workforce may lead to an increase in skilled migration from Africa to the more developed world.

While the results of the migration study aren’t particularly ground-breaking, there are two interesting insights:

1) Adjusted for population growth, the global migration rate has stayed roughly the same since around since 1995 (it was higher from 1990-1995).

2) It’s not the poorest countries sending people to the richest countries, it’s countries in transition—still poor, but with some education and mobility—that are the highest migratory contributors.

EU migration patterns

The following site contains some must watch documentariys on the challgnes migration is posing for the UK, however many apply to a much wider context.

Must watch:- http://21stcenturychallenges.org/uk-migration/

Complusory Case Study:

Expansion of the EU has historically correlated with sharp rises in migration. This is known as post accession migration. One of the most obvious exmaples of this is the steep rise in UK numbers following the addition of the A8 countries to full EU status in April 2004.

UK immigration

Post Accession Migration:

Silver Flight / Retirement Migration

At the moment, over one million UK pensioners live abroad. In 1981, the figure was just 250,000. It is estimated that by 2050, more than three million British pensioners will be living abroad. This trend has been called silver flight. The biggest reason for this type of migration is the sunshine, but many migrants also mentioned the idea of retirement providing them with a new start in life. The cheaper cost of living is another draw.


Spain has been transformed within the space of a few decades to become one of the most important immigration countries in Europe. Since the middle of the 1980s Spain’s foreign population has risen nineteen-fold to 4.52 million. Spain’s foreign population has been increasing slowly since the middle of the 1980s. In the beginning, Northern and Western Europeans, in search of a (retirement) residence in a warmer climate, accounted for a considerable proportion of incoming migrants.

Many emigrants to Spain choose to live in ‘urbanisacions.These are purpose-built villa developments. One such example is the Urbanisacion La Marina, near Alicante, construction of which began in 1985. It has the largest proportion of non-Spanish residents of any municipality in Spain. Around 8,000 of the 10,000 residents are foreign, and about half of them are from the UK.

Australia is the most popular destination for UK migrants of pension age (245,000), followed by North America (190,000), Ireland (105,000) and Spain (75,000). In La Cala de Mijas, a town on the Costa del Sol in Spain, one third of the residents are British.

Three Million Flee Britain to Retire abroad





Author: MrGeogWagg

Geography Teacher, London

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