We will start this journey by understanding migration from the beginning of human history. The sequencing of the human genome starting in 1990 and expanding computer power, is allowing deep insights into the history and location of human life. It is a fascinating story, well told by Dr Spencer Wells who is a leading population geneticist and former director of the Genographic Project at National Geographic. This 17 minute video is a bit longer than our normal objective, but well worth the experience.
Building on Dr Wells talk, this next 2 minute video (without words) shows the flow of ancient Migrations and the era in which they occurred.
Migration is no longer a movement restricted by waiting for ice to thaw of having to travel on land and long sea voyages as would have been the case more than 70 years ago.
Young educated people with good employment prospects can now travel the world quickly and cheaply in aircraft that are safer than most other modes of transport. This has all happened within two generation as shown below where fares to London are now (in real terms) 1.5% (or a bit over 1 week's wage) of what they were 70 years ago (when they were 90 weeks wages).
These global villagers might form partnerships with someone from a different culture, country or religion. They might work for a globally operating firm in a country of their choice or freelance. For such modern global couples, sovereign borders are of little consequence. However Migration is not such an easy exercise for many other people on earth as we will next consider.
Australia's first human inhabitants, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, migrated about 50,000 years ago to what is now known as Australia. They came across a land bridge from Asia when sea levels were much lower (this was illustrated in Topic 206.1). Because there is no history of interaction with other parts of the world or written history, we do not know why this migration occurred - it may have been curiosity, persecution or an accident of climate change with the land bridge eventually disappearing under water.
The next migration to Australia was in 1788 from England due to population pressures in jails and England losing access to America to transport convicts. I guess we could call this forced mass migration, although once the settlement became established and convicts became emancipated, it may well have been considered escape from the conditions in rotting hulks anchored on the Thames. However, this migration certainly disadvantaged the Aboriginal population for many years in loss of lands and conflict. Although it doesn't excuse their treatment by the British, it would most likely only have been a matter of a few years before another nation moved migrants here such as the French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch whose explorers were ever present in this area.
Apart from a rush of migrants with the discovery of gold in the mid-1800s, migration thereafter was a steady flow of convicts, whalers and free settlers from the British Isles.
We can identify a further three Mass migration events to Australia, which would be classed as escape from disadvantage in the 1900s as follows:
1. In 1950s following the end of World War 2 in Europe, many migrants were sought to help the then government's aim to "populate or perish". These migrants came from United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Greece and a number of Eastern European countries decimated by post Would War 2 communist insurgencies. In the 1960s a policy which had discriminated in favour of white Anglo-saxon and European migrants was ended - referred to as the end of the "White Australia" policy.
2. In late 1970s, following the end of a disastrous war in Vietnam which Australia participated in, fleeing South Vietnamese refugees were welcomed as a large addition to migration.
3. In later years, up to the present time, there has been some flow of migrants escaping conflict zones in the Middle East but the numbers are far fewer than in the previously mentioned mass migrations.
For Europe, recent mass migrations from the Middle East and Africa have become a major issue. These mass movements are both due to escape from conflict and also escape from the disadvantage of over-populated areas of Africa. The overpopulation is due to high fertility rates. Many of the nations within these African originating regions have poor governance resulting in insufficient economic opportunities for young people. The issues from a European perspective are discussed in the following article in 2015 from the Economist Magazine.
The following Video includes views of 5 international Demographers on current and future Migration trends, primarily concerning the Middle East and Africa.
The following 20 minute video describes the history of migration to America and in particular the history of US government actions regarding people moving from Mexico and Latin America to the United States.
Australia has a recent controversial history with regard to asylum seekers arriving by boat on its western shores. Below are two relevant articles. The first is a news clipping regarding political reactions to "boat people", the second is a summary from the Australian Parliamentary Library Research summarising Australia's approach to resettling refugees.
A final topic to mention regarding Mass Migration is those people who may in the near future find they have to move due to Climate change. This may result in internal movements (in the case of Japan in the heavily populated low lying Osaka region) or movement to another country in the case of some Pacific Islands like the Maldives and Tuvalu. Migration due to climate change is nothing new to the Human species. If you watched Dr Wells' video in Topic 206.1, you would have seen that this was a major factor in Humans getting out of Africa to Europe, to the "New World" and to Australia.
This popular reference paper on why people decide to migrate is by Everett S. Lee.
Whilst this paper was written some time ago (1966) the general principles are still relevant for why people move from one place to another place. People weigh up the pluses and minuses of where they are now, compare the net result to the pluses and minuses of other places and consider the obstacles in moving from one place to the other. Minuses relative to origin are referred to a "Push" factors and Pluses relative to the destination are referred to a "Pull" factors.
A graphic from the paper might help memory of these principles.
A Demographer's primary interest in Migration is:
To help explain the composition of a population at a particular point in time using the data available on past movements in and out of the population
As a basis for making assumptions about the level and profile of migration flows in future when making population projections
Demonstrating how changes in migration composition and number may alter future age and sex profiles of a population
Migration examined by a demographer may be Internal migration within a country, or to or from a different country (usually termed International migration). In Australia, the current term used instead of International is Net Overseas Migration reflecting our long history as an isolated continent bounded by oceans.
More specific terms used are Immigration (those moving into the studied location) and Emigration (those moving out of the studied location). In data collection the terms, Arrivals and Departures are alternative labels for Immigration and Emigration respectively.
Usually, Migration will refer to a change in usual place of residence of a permanent or semi-permanent nature. This means that travel to and from work and short stay vacationing would not be counted. Significant seasonal movements may well be captured in migration data, depending on the purpose.
Urban planners (many of whom may have studied Demography) will usually be interested in ALL movements of people relative to a defined geographic bounded area, and ALL forms of transport used (including walking) and public facilities and retail outlets frequented. Some Population Censuses may capture this data. More recently, Data Science methods of capturing the spatial track of mobile devices might also be used. This field of study is outside the scope of this course.
The term Net Migration is used when referring to the addition to a location's population from the combined numbers of Arrivals minus Departures. This is similar to Natural Increase when used to represent the net addition from Births minus Deaths in a population. This is a convenient time to introduce you to the Balancing Equation(1) of Population as follows:
(1) Resident Population at end of a period = Resident Population at beginning + Natural Increase + Net Migration
When working with locations smaller than a country, this formula is expanded to capture Internal Migration and distinguishes this from Overseas Migration as follows with Balancing Equation (2):
(2) Population at end = Population at beginning + Natural Increase + Net Internal Migration + Net Overseas Migration
These equations can be used to solve for one unknown if you know values for all the other terms. For example, with Equation (1), if you know the population at beginning and end (say from two Censuses) and you know how many Births and Deaths there were, you can solve for the Net Migration.
Whilst there are no Demography specific rates defined for migration (like there are for Fertility and Mortality) there are a range of measures developed by specialists in this field according their specific project. Statistics collected to analyse migration focus on numbers, age profile and cultural and sex distribution. The age profile of migrants is usually younger than the destination population.
The following 2 minute video from Statistics Canada, illustrates an analysis of internal migration, overseas migrations and natural increase and the effect on population distribution and composition.
When Demographers study movement of a permanent nature within a country this is referred to as "Internal Migration". Below is a 10 page Chapter from a United Nations Manual on Internal Migration which illustrates the features of interest and measures developed to study internal migration.
A particular area of interest in movement of people in a smaller region, might be how much population movement there was in and out of the region and how many people were stationary within the region. Then the interest would be in the net change in population during the period, what contribution there was from Overseas versus Internal migrants and how the gain or loss in population compared to the volume of movement activity. These are themes underlying the measures covered by the above paper.
A country may have an incentivized program for developing one region of the country and the government would use these measures to monitor the effectiveness of the program.
Below is an example of the type of numerical representation of internal migration which facilitates some of the analysis referred to above. The numbers for Arrivals and Departures are recorded gross for each paired combination of Sates of Australia. The 3 columns on the right derive Net Migration addition for each State using totals of Arrival rows and Departure columns. These numbers are from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the December Quarter of 2017.
Similar tables to the above can be completed for other possible combinations such as movement between regions within a state and movement between urban, rural and remote locations of the country.
Movement from Rural to Urban areas is of particular interest in China. With the enormous rate of development occurring in the recent years, there has been a large population shift from rural to urban areas. These internal migrants find themselves in a precarious position. They typically have family left behind in rural areas and are not entitled to the vital "Hukou" registration to access the health and education systems of urban residents.
The following 2 minute video discusses the state of Hukou in China in 2015.
The following paper by the late Professor Graham Hugo, presents a wide ranging discussion of Australia's future issues in managing migration. The paper was written in 2011 for the benefit of Australian government, when considering policy on migration. It is arguably the most detailed and thoughtful paper by a Demographer in the previous 20 years.
We encourage you to become familiar with the structure of the paper as a reference for future use. It is a fairly long read. A few key points are as follows:
Forces for massive increase in international movement of people between countries are discussed on pages 2 and 3 as follows:
The volume of movement between places is influenced by the differences between them. The Asia Pacific region includes large diversity of income, age profile, employment and democratic freedoms.
Global reach of media and electronic communication stimulates knowledge of this diversity and opportunities for movement.
The proliferation of social networks provides family and friends in the origin country with knowledge of the destination and a network for flow of money, information, ideas and facilitation of more migrant flow.
An example of the workforce needs based on Demographic differences between more and less developed countries is given on page 4 with the following diagram:
In the above diagram you can see on the left, the red columns show the decline in workforce in High Income countries like Australia due to slowing fertility and retirement of baby boomers. While this is happening, past and continuing high fertility has workforce growing in Low Income Countries, bringing pressure for movement from Low to High income countries.
The discussion on pages 54 to 58 concerning student, skilled and family migration is particularly relevant to surge in migration numbers from student and skilled entry to Australia in recent years.
A recent review of Migration form a revenue, economic and immigration policy viewpoint, was conducted by the Australian Treasury and Department of Home Affairs in 2018. Some key paragraphs of concern re carrying capacity occur in the initial summary of the report as follows:
"A bigger population, including through migration, can heighten existing pressures on infrastructure, housing, and the environment. Without continuing action to find innovative solutions, high rates of growth may also intensify issues such as congestion and excessive waste production. None of these issues are new and would exist even in the absence of population growth. However, to fully reap the benefits of immigration and population growth, Australia must continue to explore and address these issues."
The full report can be accessed here.
This review was most likely prompted by growing concern in the Australian community about the surge in migration numbers in recent years.
Here is a very useful guide to finding Australia's migration statistics and a brief description of current migration arrangements. This document has a number of links to data sources and other documents although some of the links are no longer active.
Australian Migration for calendar years since the end of World War 2 is depicted below. As noted in the above paper, the surge in the level of Migration since 2005 is largely due to the high level of overseas students, many of whom stay on with work and permanent visas. Over the most recent 10 years, students make up about 30% of Net Migration addition to population and people on temporary work visas a further 20%. Family migration permanent settlers only make up 13% of all Net Overseas Migration.
The graph below shows the difference in percentage age distribution for 30 June 2017 All Australia Population compared to Immigrant Arrivals in the 2017 calendar year.
Whilst immigration age profiles are generally younger than the Australian population, the above profile has higher proportions in 15 to 24 age groups that historically typical, due to the high level of student immigration since early 2000s. This brings added pressure on competition for accommodation and employment wages for local young people, given working rights available to these students.
You have now covered the fundamentals of Demography, Births, Deaths and Migration. These are the 3 key driving forces of Populations. In the final Course 207, you will see how these forces are related and the impact of their evolution over time in growth of population numbers. You will also see how important Demography skills are to other fields.
To go to the final course, click 207 Demography Destinations