Analyse the economic, environmental, social and demographic impacts of migration at both the origin and destination of migrants. Migration is a movement and refers to a permanent change of home. It can also be used with different scales to include temporary changes involving seasonal and daily movements both between countries and within a country. Migration will affect the distribution of people over a given area as well as the total population of a region and the population structure of a country or city.
The changes caused by migration are also directly related to the causes of migration itself. For example, forced migration can be caused by religious or political reasons. When people leave because of this, there is likely to be less resistance in the area and so the views or actions, which forced citizens away, are likely to escalate. Other forced issues include overpopulation as found in China, famine suffered by Ethiopians in the Sudan, and environmental factors for example Chernobyl in the Ukraine. At the origin of migration, the effects will be mixed depending on the influences.
On a national scale, migration can be both beneficial and disadvantageous. In the UK, internal migration is commonly due to several factors, including retirement where people who have served all their working days in urban surroundings and move to the quiet of rural areas, often on the coast, or moving to find a better quality of life or the relocation of business where people may be able to run their business from a remote location, or require movement to an area with improvement telecommunications or similar.
As a result of this, agriculturally based work opportunities are declining as farms become even larger and more mechanised. Local housing becomes too expensive for local people and is bought by commuters. Demand for local services such as local shop and post office can cause them to close and people have to travel to urban areas making living in the country side more expensive. These effects work both ways however. The effect on those moving from rural to urban locations can be very beneficial.
Businesses moving into urban areas are at an advantage because they will generally have access to better communication infrastructure and more valuable land and pool of staff to choose from. This still occurs despite financial incentives from the Government, which have been brought on by the worry of overcrowding of the major UK cities and the risk of the urban area becoming saturated, whereas the rural countryside can be much more scenically acceptable to the workforce. On an international scale, some countries view emigration as a direct ‘cure’ for possible high unemployment rates.
Whilst this may look good as a figure written down and a positive fact for the Government to use to show how they have cut unemployment, conversely if too many citizens emigrate who are also skilled workers then this could lead to labour shortages throughout the country’s profitable industry with which they would use both in country and export for extra global economic wealth. This is known as the “brain-drain”. If this were to happen, then the country would need to adopt a policy completely the opposite and ‘import’ workers.
Malaysia has suffered from this and has contracted Indonesians to live, some temporarily, in the country and work on construction projects and agricultural areas. These workers are filling the deficit that was left by Malaysian citizens leaving the country for Singapore and the Far East. In this situation, the push factors far outweigh the pull. The demography, social makeup of the source country will be affected too. Different ages and sexes are likely to show different characteristics and influence the area in different ways.
For example, young adult in their reproductive years are more likely to move. The origin will then suffer a general decrease in birth rate because of less young frivolous males and females of childbearing age. This will inevitably lead to the average age of the population becoming higher increasing the death rate. An older population will also have an effect on their dependency on others. Older people will directly and indirectly put new pressures on transport, health and residential services, which will invariably change the social side of a settlement or country.
Less industry and business will result although coastal and rural areas may benefit from tourism. The load on the remaining community would be high, and would be worsened if more of one gender migrated than the other forcing a lop-sided population pyramid. Sex selective migration can aid in disrupting family life and marriage patterns. This is demonstrated by the fact that of all households in the world, a woman heads one in three. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, the adult males may have died, maybe through war or natural disaster, with the wife outliving her husband.
Secondly, the majority of women are without men because of migration. The men may have moved to other areas in search of better living standards for themselves or their family, better job prospects, or other economic advantages with which they can support the family elsewhere. An example of this occurring was the mass movement of young unmarried Irishmen last century. The average age of marriage for women rose and resulted in an ever-increasing proportion of those who never married, which will have affected the country severely.
The population would have shrunk with a smaller male population and less couples producing families to continue replacement, and so birth rate falls. The environment will also be affected. If the area was heavily agricultural, then the effect of people moving away will be such that their will be less man-power in the area to tend to the land. This means that the land would be left unused and produce in the area will decline. In areas where subsistence farming is common, this would spell disaster for local residents whose food supply would diminish.
If land is left unused then it loses its fertility therefore it is unlikely that the land would be able to be used to the same extent later on. This puts a rapid stop to any chance of sustainable development in the short-term future, although in the long-term the availability of fertiliser or nutrients to add to the land may help, but these come at a price. In many countries it is almost tradition that the young male or males of the family will provide and tend for all other members, including their sisters and elders.
In communities where this is true, parents will often try to have as many children as they can because they know that their offspring will get jobs in their early teens and then be able to support their parents until old age. Traditionally also, parents have hoped for male offspring as opposed to female because males are more likely to get a job and earn more money to financially support his parents in the future. The problem that has been evident and one that is a growing concern is that young males are now migrating from their native lands or regions in search of better job prospects.
Their ambitions are taking them away from their family unit, and when they reach their new urban destination they will either get a job and send some money back home if the infrastructure of the country supports; but if they cannot find employment then they still do not return to the rural areas because of embarrassment and failure to help their families. At the migrants’ destination, many of the same effects apply. The most obvious effect at the destination is that there is suddenly an increase in population.
Because it is usually males of working age who move, there is now a huge pool of potentially cheap labour; and they tend to accept poorly paid and often menial jobs with little security. Whilst this is advantageous both to employers and to the migrants themselves who are provided with a source of income, migrants can be viewed as a burden upon their new homeland especially during times of recession. Many are joined by their families and thus make demands upon health, education, housing and welfare benefits.
With an increase in population, there will be increase pressure on housing and accommodation. There are increasing numbers of migrants who are unable to find accommodation in the place to which they move; this forces them to live on the streets in shanties, refuge camps, or on a smaller scale. When joined by their wives and only at a much later stage by older relatives, by which time children may also have been born to them, this will drastically affect the demography of the area or country.
It will create a huge imbalance of age and sex groups at the destination and also reverse patterns at their origin. Immigration however can play an important role in population growth. It can influence natural increase since most immigrants are of childbearing age, but sheer volume is also significant. For example, ten years of immigration to the USA accounted for over a half of the nation’s growth. There are currently approximately 1,500,000 forced migrants seeking refuge in the USA from countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Vietnam.
In contrast to this, some cases migration has led to the reduction of native populations. Historically, when nations like Spain began to colonise the New World they took with them diseases such as influenza, measles and smallpox and as a result the indigenous populations dropped by two thirds. Hartman, of the London School of Economics stated that, “Some argue that population growth is the greatest single limit to economic growth and the continued survival of the earth’s ecological systems.
” In other words, scarcity of resources is made worse by the increasing demand from a growing population for resources such as water, fuel, and a clean environment. In reality, this resource scarcity can lead to enhanced conflict and “the breakdown on cooperative action”. Such stresses can have a negative effect of health and changing consumption patterns and can also lead to wars and violent conflict leading to increased migration and the creation of so called ‘environmental refugees’.
The social impact of migrants is probably the most contentious and important. International migration can lead to racial tension. Despite the enrichment of the country brought about by immigrants (artistic, theatrical, sporting, commercial, administrative and industrial, for example), resentment and even anger can be directed at such groups who see themselves as ‘long-standing’ citizens, resulting in racism.
It is often directed at easily identifiable groups and this behaviour is likely to be brought about by the unfortunate desire for individuals to protect their territory. At best, the situation fades out as the groups are accepted into society. At worst, the racism holds that the immigrants, no matter how long-standing they may be, are a threat to the well being of the nation, and are encouraged by one means or another to leave. If the group is not socially resilient, then there should, theoretically, be no problem with racism on any level.