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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Five of the world’s most incredible magic tricks that went wrong

Even the best planned illusions are often unpredictable and can have unfortunate consequences.

Magic has a special hold on our imagination, especially when magicians and illusionists perform death-defying tricks. But magic, much like life itself, is unpredictable. These are some of the world’s most audacious magic tricks that show how even some of the best magicians often miscalculate the risk:

The bullet catch. In this trick, a bullet is fired at a magician on stage who appears to catch it in his mouth. The bullet, before being fired, is marked by a member of the audience to ensure that it is the same bullet that’s caught by the magician. The bullet catch has been described as the most dangerous magic trick in the world and around 15 magicians have reportedly died performing it.

The Chinese water torture cell. In this illusion, the magician, with feet locked in iron restraints, is lowered face first into a glass tank filled with water in full view of the audience. The magician then has only minutes to undo the restraints and escape before drowning. Many magicians have attempted variations of this trick, and as recently as 2015, an escape artist called Spencer Horsmann nearly drowned when he failed to escape.

Buried alive. Legend has it that this illusion has its origins in India. There are many variations of the trick with the essential feature being that the magician is trapped underground in a box. In a famous 1999 event, the American magician David Blaine was buried in a Plexiglas coffin for seven days. He survived the trick but many others have not. Joe Burrus, an American magician attempted the trick in 1990 and died when his coffin broke underground.

Sword swallowing. This ancient art involves the magician inserting a sword or other sharp metal objects down his or her throat and into the stomach. Many variations have been performed with magicians swallowing long swords, multiple swords, bayonets and even hot swords to make it more dramatic. It is estimated that over 25 magicians have died performing it since the 19th century.

Death-defying escape under the sea. This magic trick was first performed by the Indian magician PC Sorcar Jr in 1969. Sorcar was sealed in a mail bag and locked in a wooden crate that was strapped with steel, welded, chained and thrown into the ocean. Sorcar managed to escape from the crate within 90 seconds and became a legend. In 1983, an escape artist called Dean Gunnarson performed a similar stunt in which he was handcuffed, chained and nailed into a coffin that was immersed into a river. The stunt went wrong, and Gunnarson had to be rescued by his support crew and resuscitated back to life.

Despite the best preparations, magic tricks can go awry and leave families without financial security. The video below takes the lens of humor but drives the point home.

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While the chances of encountering an inept street magician or trying death-defying stunts are rather slim for most people, given the unpredictability of life, we can’t be too certain of what the future holds. It’s important to invest in a good insurance plan that can protect your family from adverse circumstances. The PNB MetLife Mera Term Plan is a comprehensive and highly flexible online term plan that lets you customize it to your needs. To learn more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of PNB MetLife and not by the Scroll editorial team.

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