Monday, 15 September 2014

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Young people on the move

Photo: UN Photo / Flickr / 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

14 February 2014 - Voluntary migration for work, study or family reasons is more prevalent than forced migration. The United Nations 2013 World Youth Report highlights the situation of young migrants from the perspective of young migrants themselves. South-South migration is as common as South-North migration, with the number of international migrants in both categories estimated at 82 million in 2013.

The report, which was launched on 14 February, focuses largely on the phenomena of international migration which increasingly has a significant impact on the origin, transit and destination countries and communities. The consequences are complex, context-specific and subject to change over time. The report shines a light on some of the concerns, challenges and successes experienced by young migrants based on their own lives and told in their own voices.

Young people move within their home countries as internal migrants, or beyond their borders as international migrants. International migration has an increasingly significant impact on the origin, transit and destination countries and communities. The consequences are complex, context-specific and subject to change over time. They may be influenced by factors such as the type of migration, migrant category, national migration policies, and programmatic interventions that are in place in a particular locale.

As literature on youth migration and its development impact in countries of origin and destination is sparse, the new report attempts to fill this gap and offers a comprehensive account of the life experiences of young migrants, taking into consideration both the dimensions of processes and types of migration.

The struggles and opportunities young migrants face often differ according to the type of migration. According to the latest United Nations estimates, there are 232 million international migrants worldwide, representing 3.2 per cent of the world’s total population of 7.2 billion. There are 35 million international migrants under the age of 20, up from 31 million in 2000, and another 40 million between the ages of 20 and 29. Together, they account for more than 30 per cent of all migrants.

"It is important to emphasize the positive contribution young migrants make to societies of origin, transit and destination – economically and by enriching the social and cultural fabric”, says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Most work hard to earn a living and improve their circumstances. The remittances they send to support families in their home countries are a major contributor to economies worldwide."

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