Dean Rohrer

Why More Migration Makes Sense

In almost every rich country, anti-immigrant fervor is at fever pitch. But it is a malady that must be resisted if these societies are to continue to prosper and developing countries are to fight poverty sustain economic growth.

OXFORD – In almost every rich country, anti-immigrant fervor is at fever pitch. But it is a malady that must be resisted if these societies are to continue to prosper and developing countries are to fight poverty and sustain economic growth.

A higher rate of global migration is desirable for four reasons: it is a source of innovation and dynamism; it responds to labor shortages; it meets the challenges posed by rapidly aging populations; and it provides an escape from poverty and persecution. By contrast, limiting migration slows economic growth and undermines societies’ long-term competitiveness. It also creates a less prosperous, more unequal, and partitioned world.

Of course, there are short-run, local costs to higher rates of migration that must be addressed if societies are to enjoy the much larger long-term benefits. And yet, despite domestic opposition in recipient countries, the number of international migrants has doubled over the past 25 years, and will double again by 2030. Rapid economic and political change – and, increasingly, environmental change – dislodges people and encourages them to seek opportunity and security in new homes.

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