The Tsilent Tsunami, Part One
“No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”
— Warsan Shire
“It affects and involves us all, and what it needs is understanding, compassion and political will to come together and find real answers for the refugee plight. This has become a defining challenge of our times.” — Filippo Grandi
This week’s intelligence digest edition begins a three part series on a subject that truly fits the bill for, “More than Meets the Eye.” The interesting trends that are unfolding are not surprising but the unexpected magnitude by which they are occurring will certainty impact your life and mine. They will literally change our lives. Please pay close attention as you continue reading.
I will define the problem and the words used to describe it. Then I will discuss the magnitude of the dilemma along with the the global ramifications, especially as they relate to us personally. As we conclude our discussion by looking at the global comeback to the problem we will consider what our response as Christians should be?
Today, in part one of this series, we will look at exactly what the problem of global migration is and the legal terms used to describe it. Even in the definitions of the words there is more than meets the eye.
The challenge we have in understanding reality is not by simply looking at what exists today. The future is surmised by looking at consistent trends in the present and in the recent past. We must understand the enormous impact that human migrations has on the world.
The biggest challenge for policymakers is distinguishing between illusory immigration problems and actual ones. We must define the problem clearly.
Let’s take a look at the current state of the world, specifically the demographics of highly mobile countries within Asia, Africa, Europe and the USA. Then we will explore how these demographics are beginning to shift and why.
If you are NOT interested in all the data, just jump to my conclusion below. There is a lot of supporting data below..
The current global population rests somewhere in the vicinity of 7 billion (give or take a few million). Population in the world is currently (2018) growing at a rate of around 1.09% per year (down from 1.12% in 2017 and 1.14% in 2016). The current average population increase is estimated at 83 million people per year. The median age among all humans on the earth is about 29 years of age.
Europe: Current population is 742.8 million, 9.83% of global population. 34 people/ square km (87 people/ square mile). 74.3% are urban dwellers. Median age in Europe is 41.8 years of age. They have a 1.61 fertility rate. (Note: to maintain a zero population growth 2.1 is needed. In other words, Europe is shrinking pretty fast, population-wise.) By 2030 the projected population of Europe is 739.5 million (-.08% including projected migrant growth.)
USA: Current population is 327.7 million, 4.28% of global population, 36 people/ square km (113 people/ square mile) 83.7% are urban dwellers. Median age in USA is 37.8 years of age. They have a 1.9 fertility rate. By 2030 the projected population of the USA is 254.7 million, (+.07%, including projected migrant growth.)
Africa: Current population is 1.3 billion, 16.64% of global population, 43 people/square km (113 people/square mile), 40.6% are urban dwellers. Median age in Africa is 19.4; they have a 4.43 fertility rate. (Note: for every couple there are 4.43 children born.) By 2030 the projected population of Africa is 1.7 billion, (+2.4% including projected migrant growth.)
Asia: Current population of Asia is 4.56 billion, 59.66% of global population, 146 people/square km (379 people/ square mile) 49.6% are urban dwellers; median age in Asia is 30.7 years of age. By 2030 the projected population of Asia is 4.95 billion (+.09% including projected migrant growth.)
Trends: Close to 1 in 5 migrants in the world live in the top 20 largest cities, according to IOM’s World Migration Report 2015. International migrants make up over a third of the total population in cities like Sydney, Auckland, Singapore and London, and at least one in four residents in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris is foreign-born.
The vast majority of refugees continue to be hosted by developing countries, particularly those that are proximate to the refugees’ countries of origin: for instance, the bulk of the Syrian refugee population is hosted by Turkey (2.2 million), Lebanon (1.2 million) and Jordan (almost 630,000), according to figures recorded in December 2015.
About 51 per cent of international migrants reside in ten countries. The most popular destination country is the United States, where in 2015, 46.6 million foreign-born officially resided, followed by Germany (12 million), the Russian Federation (11.9 million), Saudi Arabia (10.2 million), the United Kingdom (8.5 million), the United Arab Emirates (8.1 million), Canada and France (7.8 million each), Australia (6.7 million) and Spain (5.8 million). The top five countries by size of their diasporas (number of international migrants living abroad) in 2015 were India (15.6 million), Mexico (12.4 million), the Russian Federation (10.6 million), China (9.5 million), and Bangladesh (7.2 million).
The United States of America has been the main country of destination for international migrants since 1970. Since then, the number of foreign-born people residing in the country has almost quadrupled — from less than 12 million in 1970, to 46.6 million in 2015. Germany has been the second top country of destination per UN DESA estimates since as early as 2005, with over 12 million international migrants residing in the country in 2015.
Defining words we use to facilitate this discussion:
Refugee… […] owing to well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it. (Refugee Convention of 1951)
Migrant… an international migrant is any person who changes his or her country of usual residence. There are several types of migrants: International migrants, migrant workers, irregular migrants, (migration that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries. Some might call them undocumented migrants, still others might call them illegal aliens.)
Immigrants vs emigrants…The main difference is that immigrant is used in reference to the country moved to, and emigrant is used in reference to the country moved from.
Asylum seeker… A person who has left their country of origin and formally applied for asylum in another country but whose application has not yet been concluded.
The difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker are subtle, but legally there is a difference. A refugee may or may not have yet sought out or applied for asylum status from a host country. Practically speaking an asylum seeker has applied for asylum and is in a waiting status. He is granted certain protections and benefits by the host country. The term, “refugee” is highly overused and has come to be a “catch all” term which includes every foreigner seeking refuge in another country. They generally have no money. A migrant would usually be recognized as someone who has the financial means to take care of himself in his new host country.
Analysis: “The Tsilent Tsunami” is a serious problem the world will soon face. It has nothing to do with ethnicity or race. It has a lot to do with age and demographics. My conclusions could be made by a child after looking at such data. However, there is such polarization within the global community that nobody appears to want to talk about the Tsunami which is looming in front of mankind. It is of biblical proportions which will see the massive inter-national movement of peoples over the next decade or two.
Africa will be a huge source of emigrants over the next couple of decades. Africa is projected to grow at an unprecedented rate between now and 2030. The numbers will swell by about 300 million people. It will have a median age of 19.4 and a 4.43 fertility rate. It is an under developed continent with a staggeringly rapid need to employ hundreds of millions of young men and women. Unless something is done to dramatically develop the economies of Africa those jobs simply will not exist. They will need to look somewhere to find them. My guess; that will be Europe. Millions will seek to immigrate to Europe to find work. Europe will lose millions in population over the next couple of decades. The scenario could be accelerated by climate change and war. I will address those variables next week.
Benefits of Immigration: According to a recent report by the World Bank, “migrants from the poorest countries, on average, experienced a 15-fold increase in income, a doubling of school enrollment rates, and a 16-fold reduction in child mortality after moving to a developed country.”
According to the World Bank, in 1990 migrants remitted around USD 29 billion to lower- and middle-income countries in 1990. This amount had more than doubled to USD 74 billion in 2000 and reached USD 429 billion in 2016. This amount is roughly the same as the entire GDP of Belgium.
Immigration can have a positive effect on the labour market by increasing labour supply in sectors and occupations suffering from shortages of workers, as well as helping address mismatches in the job market.
Immigrants represent about 15 percent of the general U.S. workforce. They account for around a quarter of the entrepreneurs and a quarter of the investors in the United States. Over one-third of new firms started in the U.S. have at least one immigrant entrepreneur in its initial leadership team.
Detractions of Immigration: Immigration can exacerbate the problem. Here is a likely scenario. Africa’s best and brightest will seek refuge in Europe. They will attend European or U.S. universities, gain great academic achievement and then take well paying jobs within the USA or European job markets. They will be filling the shortages of skilled employees which will exist because of the demographic decline within Europe and the USA. By these best and brightest staying in the West, they will effectively rob the continent of Africa the ability to accelerate development, further deepening the problem of providing jobs for the millions of new workers. Europe and the U.S. will effectively cause a brain drain on the continent if something is not done to proactively keep Africa’s best and brightest at home.
- Each of us has the capacity to create opportunities for our new neighbors. One of the best ways we can help them is by teaching them the trade language of this nation, English. This is a wonderful opportunity for a church. What better way to help newcomers integrate into their new communities than by empowering them to communicate.
- Start a vocational training program. Help your new neighbors learn or hone a skill that will make them competitive in the local marketplace.
- Invite them to your community events. They just want to be received and welcomed. The reason that so many foreigners do not integrate is because they are not invited into the local communities. Welcome them to become part of your community.
- Love them. Serve them, care for them and tell them the Good News! This will have a transformational effect on our nation like none other. We can literally see the global immigrant crisis solved if we will only break out of our tiny little worlds and open up to those who have come seeking peace and a better life for themselves and their children.
- Pray for them. I know I mention this every week. This is because it is important.