From poor nations to poorer ones

Across the developing world, migrants move to other poor countries nearly as often as they move to rich ones, says the New York Times.

According to the World Bank:

  • "South to south" migrants – anyone moving from one developing country to another, regardless of geography – typically start poorer than migrants to rich countries, earn less money and are more likely to travel illegally.

  • They usually move to countries that offer migrants less legal protection and fewer services than wealthy nations do; yet their earnings help sustain some of the poorest people on the globe.

  • There are 74 million "south to south" migrants that send home $18 billion to $55 billion a year.

  • That compares to 82 million migrants that have moved "south to north," or from poor countries to rich ones.

    Some south to south migrants are "pushed" by wars and political crises, says the Times. Others are "pulled" by jobs and better wages. Some follow seasonal work while others put down roots. Some countries – Argentina, for example – have been quick to give amnesty to migrants. Others, including Nigeria and Indonesia, have subjected them to mass deportations.

    "South to south migration is not only huge, it reaches a different class of people," said Patricia Weiss Fagen, a researcher at Georgetown University. "These are very, very poor people sending money to even poorer people and they often reach very rural areas where most remittances don't go."

    Source: Jason DeParle, A Global Trek to Poor Nations, From Poorer Ones, New York Times, December 27, 2007.

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    For more on International Issues:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 08 January 2008
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