Migrants, who are they? what rights do they have? (1)

When you hear the term migrants, often discussions focus on one particular kind of migrant. Migrants are actually a very varied group.

I have been a migrant most of my life, possibly you have too. In this article we will talk about the different types of migrants, and analyse what their very different conditions are with respect to health, including the frameworks that are in place to protect their health.

Let’s begin with the term, ‘international migrants’.Sin título

This is a term which is usually referring to persons who are residing in countries other than their country of birth. The number of international migrants was estimated to be 214 million in 2010 that was about 3% of world population.

So not a very large proportion, as in fact the proportion of total world population has stayed rather constant over the last few decades. But, if we go further back in history, for example to the nineteenth century, several countries in Europe saw up to a third of their populations immigrate, for example, to North America, seeking better economic opportunities or freedom, from persecution.

So international migration is not new, and neither are the motivations which people have for migrating. What is changing is the direction of the migration.

In recent decades, the proportion of international migrants who migrate from less-developed to more-developed regions – what is known as South to North migration has increased, but it’s still only about a third of all migrants, 35%. Another 34% migrate among countries in the South and 25% migrate among countries in the North.

With respect to age composition, a large majority of international migrants, around 72%, are prime working ages from 20 to 64. The median age is 39, which is actually a little bit older than world average. Part of the reason for that is a statistical problem as children born to migrants in their country of destination are not counted as international migrants.

However, on average, migrants are of working age, and therefore also of the age where economic productivity’s high and health is relatively good.

In this interactive map you can see where the migrants come from and where they migrate.

The one issue where they may have more need for health care than other age groups is reproductive health care, which is particularly concentrated in those areas, in those ages.

Please follow our Migration thread this week: (2: Refugees and Asylum Seekers)

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