“No one leaves home, unless that home is in the mouth of a shark.” Warsan Shire
“A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in.. And how many want out.”—Tony Blair
“Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed in terms of how to help people who break them.” —Thomas Sowell
Over the next six weeks, I am traveling in the Middle East, Central and South Asia and East and West Africa. My colleague and I will attempt to understand better what is happening in the world, first hand. It is easy to fixate on the local and immediate needs, and in the process, miss the bigger picture.
While on our journey, I will republish several articles that still have significant ramifications for our world today. Variables I wrote about in the “Tsilent Tsunami” series two years ago are perhaps more relevant now than ever before.
This week’s intelligence digest begins the three-part series on a subject that truly fits the bill for, “More Than Meets the Eye.” One of the risks of being an analyst is that sometimes you have to make a call on something that has not yet happened but is in fact, lining up, as certainly as the stars. More times than not, good analysts will miss some of the details, such as timing or location. We can all, however, benefit from looking at the variables, whether they affect us personally or not.
Let’s define the problems, the words we use to describe them; then discuss their magnitude, along with the global ramifications, especially as they relate to you and me. We will conclude our discussion by looking at the global response to the problem, and then by asking, “What should the response be, of Christians like you and me?”
The analyst surmises the future by looking at consistent trends in the present, as well as in the recent past. The trends I see cause me to suggest that there is more than meets the eye in our gaining an understanding of the enormous impact of human migrations in the world today.
Today, in part one we will discuss the problems of global migration. We will also define the terms used to legally describe them.
The biggest challenge for policymakers is distinguishing illusory immigration problems from real problems. We simply must define the problem clearly. Until we do and agree on it, we will be having “apples and oranges” conversations, continuously talking about a subject that we think is the same, when in reality it is significantly different.
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 look at how these demographics are starting to shift significantly and why this is happening.
The current global population rests somewhere in the vicinity of 7.8 billion (take or give a few million). Population in the world is currently (2021) growing at a rate of around 1.1% 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 global population has grown from 1 billion in 1800 to 7.8 billion in 2020. It is expected to keep growing, and estimates have put the total population at 8.6 billion by mid-2030, 9.8 billion by mid-2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100. 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 the global population. 34 people/ square km (87 people/ square mile). 74.3% are urban dwellers. The median age in Europe is 41.8 years of age and 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 the global population. 36 people/ square km (113 people/ square mile) 83.7% are urban dwellers. The median age in the USA is 37.8 years of age and 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 the global population. 43 people/square km (113 people/square mile) 40.6% are urban dwellers. The median age in Africa is 19.4 and 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 the global population. 146 people/square km (379 people/ square mile) 49.6% are urban dwellers. The 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).
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 New York City, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Paris is foreign-born.
Contrary to common thought, 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 percent of international migrants reside in 10 countries. The most popular destination country is the United States, where 46.6 million foreign-born officially resided in 2015, 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 that we use, to have 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 to 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 is subtle. Legally, there is a difference. A refugee may or may not have 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 that includes every foreigner, seeking refuge in another country, and they generally have no money. A migrant, on the other hand, would generally be associated with someone who has the financial means to take care of himself in his new host country.
The above data leads me to the conclusion that there is a serious problem that the world will be facing soon. It has nothing to do with ethnicity or race. It does have a lot to do with age and demographics. (My conclusions could be made by a child after looking at such data.) 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 a tsunami of gargantuan proportions that will see the massive international movement of peoples over the next decade or two.
My conclusion: 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. It will have a median age of 19.4 and a 4.43 fertility rate. It is an underdeveloped 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 is: that will be Europe. Millions will seek to immigrate to Europe to find work. They will populate cities by the millions, seeking to find some form of employment.
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 labor market by increasing labor 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 entrepreneurs and a quarter of investors in the United States, and over one-third of new firms started in the US have at least one immigrant entrepreneur in its initial leadership team.
Detractions of Immigration: Immigration can exacerbate several problems. Here is a likely scenario. Africa’s best and brightest will seek refuge in Europe. They will attend European or US 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 stay 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 US will effectively cause a “brain drain” on the continent if something is not done to proactively keep Africa’s best and brightest at home.
- Create opportunities- each of us has the capacity to create opportunities for our new neighbors. The best thing we can do is to help them learn the trade language of this nation, English. Start English classes in your town or city. This is a wonderful opportunity for a church and community group. What better way to help newcomers integrate into their new communities than by learning how to communicate.
- Start a vocational training program- help your new neighbors learn a skill or hone a skill that will make them compete in the local marketplace.
- Invite them into your community events. They just want to be received and welcomed. The reason that so many foreigners do not integrate, and instead create foreign ghettos is that they are not invited into the local communities. Love them and invite them to become part of your community.
- Love them. Serve them. Care for them. Tell them the Good News! This will have a transformational effect on our nation like nothing else. 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; that is because it is important.
Myanmar coup: Aung San Suu Kyi detained as military seizes control… https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55882489
Navalny: Thousands join fresh protests across Russia… https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55876033
For your comments or questions about any of our digests, please feel free to write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org