World Population Deputy Program Director Raya Muttarak was invited by Aalborg University to give an online keynote lecture on the demographic perspective on migration challenges.

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Immigration remains one of the most contentious issues in Europe even after the great European refugee crisis has settled. Some observers see immigration as a fundamental challenge to the economic sustainability of the welfare states and the social cohesion of welfare societies. Other observers see immigration as an opportunity to increase labour supply and diversity in an ageing and shrinking European labour market.

After the initial conference on the causes and consequences of immigration for north-European welfare states had to be cancelled due to corona-virus, Raya Muttarak was invited by the interdisciplinary FLOW research group at Aalborg University to give her keynote during an online seminar.

The keynote lecture titled “Migration challenges in an ageing world under a changing climate: A demographic approach" will take place on Wednesday, 10 June 2020, between 15.00 to 16.00 (CEST). No registration is required. Please follow the meeting link to participate (Meeting password: 852306).

Abstract

Migration challenges in an ageing world under a changing climate: A demographic approach

The role played by environmental change as a push factor driving people out of their home and causing mass migration flows has received widespread public and media attention in the past couple of years. The European refugee crisis, recent migration flows to the United States and the Venezuelan crisis, for instance, have been often linked with severe and persistent drought episodes in the Middle East, Central America and South America, respectively. If negative effects of extreme weather events are becoming more common, there is a fear that this could result in mass out-migration from vulnerable countries into more prosperous areas such as Europe and North America. With most countries in Africa undergoing an age-structure transition which has resulted in a rise in the proportion of the working age population coupled with the aging population in most advanced economies, this raises a question whether replacement migration is a solution to declining and ageing populations in Europe. Whilst climate change and population dynamics are seen as potential key drivers of migration, the scientific evidence on the topic is unsettled. Despite an increasing number of empirical studies in the past years on the climate-related migration, we are still missing a coherent understanding to what extent and under which conditions environmental change influences human migration. Likewise, to assess whether Europe needs migration to deal with its declining working-age population requires scientific understanding of population structure and composition as well as knowledge about how the future population dynamics will look like under climate change. This talk will systematically synthesise the evidence on environmental migration and apply demographic approaches to analyse the fundamental question of whether and how migrants can help solve Europe’s aging problem.

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