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Labour Flows

Where everyone in the world is migrating – in one gorgeous chart

The largest regional migration is from Southeast Asia to the Middle East. The biggest flow between individual countries is the steady stream from Mexico to the US.

It’s no secret that the world’s population is on the move, but it’s rare to get a glimpse of where that flow is happening. In a study released in yesterday's Science, a team of geographers used data snapshots to create a broad analysis of global migrations over 20 years.

The study was conducted by three geographic researchers from the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital in Vienna. The researchers presented their data in five-year increments, from 1990 to 2010. Their research is unique, because it turned static census counts from over 150 countries into a dynamic flow of human traffic.

Migration data is counted in two ways: Stock and flow. “The stocks are the number of migrants living in a country,” said Nikola Sander, one of the study’s authors. Stock is relatively easy to get – you just count who is in the country at a given point of time. Flow is trickier. It’s the rate of human traffic over time.

Keeping accurate account of where people are moving has stymied the UN, and researchers and policy-makers in general, for a while. The European Union keeps good track of migrant flows, but elsewhere the data are sparse. Static measurements are plentiful, but it is hard to use them to get a picture of how people are moving on a broad scale, because each country has its own methodology for collecting census data.

Last year, however, the UN brought stock data from nearly 200 countries into harmony by erasing the methodological seams between them. To turn this stock data into five-year flow estimates, the researchers used statistical interpolations from stock data from the UN, taken mostly from 10-year country censuses, but supplemented with population registers and other national surveys.

It’s not the poorest who migrate the most

While the results of the migration study aren’t particularly groundbreaking, there are two interesting insights:

1) Adjusted for population growth, the global migration rate has stayed roughly the same since around since 1995 (it was higher from 1990-1995).

2) It’s not the poorest countries sending people to the richest countries, it’s countries in transition – still poor, but with some education and mobility – that are the highest migratory contributors.

“One of the conclusions they make in the paper, is the idea as countries develop, they continue to send more migrants, and at some point they become migrant-receiving regions themselves,” said Fernando Riosmena, a geographer from the University of Colorado, who did not contribute to this research, but is collaborating with one of the authors on a future paper.

A few other noteworthy results:

1) The largest regional migration is from Southeast Asia to the Middle East. This is largely driven by the huge, oil-driven construction booms happening on the Arabian Peninsula.

2) The biggest flow between individual countries is the steady stream from Mexico to the US. (In fact, the US is the largest single migrant destination).

3) There’s a huge circulation of migrants among sub-Saharan African countries. This migration dwarfs the number leaving Africa, but the media pay more attention the latter because of the austerity-driven immigration debates in Europe.

Explore the world of migration

The data aren’t perfect. Riosmena points out that in countries and regions that especially dislike migrants, like the US and Europe, numbers are often underreported. Still, he says, the data are a very good indication of the general trends.

Also, amateur data sleuths be warned: Because these flow estimates are taken from 10-year static counts, they cannot be compared to the annual migrational flows that the UN publishes (which, as mentioned above, cannot be used to compare between countries).

Sander says she hopes her data will change the way other researchers approach migration. “Inside the discipline, we hope that it’s going to be the basis for subsequent analysis of the impact of migration on population, on economies, on aging.” Sander and her colleagues have lined their data up with global remittance flows, and are analyzing what kind of patterns they can find therein.

This post originally appeared on Quartz.com.

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India, UK and the US agree that this one factor is the biggest contributor to a fulfilled life

Attitude can play a big role in helping us build a path to personal fulfilment.

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”

— Walt Disney

Throughout our lives we’re told time and time again about the importance of having a good attitude, whether it be in school, on the cricket pitch or in the boardroom. A recent global study of nearly two million people further echoed this messaging. When asked to think of someone who is living fully and to cite the number one reason for that fulfilment, “attitude” stood out as a top driver across India, the US, the UK, and a dozen other countries.

The resounding support for the importance of attitude in life is clear. But, what exactly is a “good attitude”, how exactly does it impact us, and what can we do to cultivate it?

Source: Abbot Global Study
Source: Abbot Global Study

Perhaps, for all of us in India the example closest to heart is the evolution of the Indian cricket team and its performance in crucial tournaments. The recent team led by M S Dhoni has had the type of success that we never witnessed since India started playing international cricket in the 1930s. Most observers of cricket, both the audience and experts, agree that other than the larger pool of talent and intense competition, a crucial new element of the team’s success has been its attitude—the self-belief that they can win from impossible situations. The statistics too seem to back this impression, for example, M S Dhoni has been part of successful run chases, remaining not out till the end on 38 occasions, more than any other cricketer in the world.

As in cricket so in life, good attitude is crucial but not easy to define. It is certainly not simply the ability to look at the bright side. That neglects the fact that many situations bring with them inconvenient realities that need to be acknowledged and faced. A positive attitude, then, is all about a constructive outlook that takes into consideration the good and the bad but focuses on making the best of a situation.

Positive thinking can shield people from stress, allowing them to experience lower rates of depression. A positive attitude also improves the ability to cope with different situations and even contributes to longer lifespans.

While having a positive attitude may not come naturally to all of us, we can cultivate that spirit. There are systematic ways in which we can improve the way we react to situations. And simple exercises seem to have a measurable impact. For example:

· Express gratitude. Start your day by acknowledging and appreciating the good in your life. This morning exercise can help reorient your mind towards a constructive outlook for the entire day.

· Adjust body language. The body and mind are closely linked, and simple adjustments to body language can signal and invite positivity. Simple steps such as keeping your posture upright, making eye contact and leaning in during conversations to signal positive interest have a positive impact on you as well as those you interact with.

· Find meaning in what we do. It is important to give purpose to our actions, and it is equally important to believe that our actions are not futile. Finding the purpose in what we do, no matter how small the task, often energizes us towards doing the best we can.

· Surround yourself with positive people. Your friends do matter, and this is a truth as old as the hills. The ever popular ancient Indian treatise Panchatantra, a collection of stories dating back perhaps to the 1st century BC, offers advice on how to make and keep suitable friends. And that remains relevant even today.


In addition to these steps, there are numerous resources available to help people around the world adopt a positive attitude and lead a more fulfilled life. Abbott, a global healthcare company, is committed to helping people live the best life possible. Their website and newsletter feature life hacks for work or personal time like those listed below. These are great tools for those ready to lead a more fulfilled and meaningful life, starting today.

Source: Abbot Global Study
Source: Abbot Global Study

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.

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