E.g., 09/18/2014
E.g., 09/18/2014

Demography and Migration: An Outlook for the 21st Century

Policy Briefs
September 2013

Demography and Migration: An Outlook for the 21st Century

Economic and demographic disparities will shape the mobility of labor and skills during the 21st century. Richer societies and some emerging economies are already experiencing rapid population aging, while working-age populations will continue to grow in other emerging economies and in most low-income countries. Despite these trends, many highly developed countries and emerging economies continue to assume that today’s demographic realities will persist. 

International migration and internal mobility are one way of addressing the growing demographic and persisting economic disparities. When they move, most migrants manage to improve their income, access to education, or personal security, as well as contributing to the welfare of their regions of origin. Yet migrants are also at risk of being exploited or experiencing discrimination. 

While migration cannot mitigate all of the labor market challenges and economic disparities of the coming years and decades, smart migration, integration, and nondiscrimination policies will have substantial implications. Future migration policies should aim at reducing the direct and indirect costs of migration while maximizing the possible benefits of migration. When developing these policies, it is crucial that decision makers consider and invest in long-term solutions that can be adapted to meet the changing needs of their economies and societies.