How Much Does Migration Change Receiving Societies?

This is episode five of our course Migration 101. In this course, we’ve teamed up with Hein de Haas, one of the field’s leading scholars, to tackle some of the most commonly asked questions related to migration. After watching his videos, you’ll have a fundamental understanding of the realities surrounding today’s debate on migrants and the refugee crisis. We recommend Migration 101 as a primer for other Migration Matters courses.

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PART 5/10 OF MIGRATION 101

You may have heard that immigrants alter the fabric of receiving societies. It’s true that migration contributes to the make-up of a culture in more ways than one. But this does not translate into fundamental changes to the structure of society, says Hein.

In this episode, Hein offers examples of how immigrants adapt to the norms of their new environment and how political frameworks are not so easily swayed by the mere arrival of newcomers.

Recommended Reading

Members of a particular immigrant group do indeed vary in their activities and preferences. This article from The Atlantic explores how Cuban immigrants in the U.S. voted differently this season, across their community.

A photo gallery: What America’s immigrants looked like when they arrived at Ellis Island (very different from how they look today).

A report on how migrants tend to adopt the fertility norms (or average birthrate) of their new country.

And how do destination/receiving countries and sending countries actually compare in terms of birthrate? Here’s a nifty chart on fertility trends around the world.

Parable of the Polygons is a playable version of Thomas Schelling’s model of neighborhood segregation. Play it to see how small, individual preferences on diversity can have stark implications for the segregation of societies. It was created in 2014, but it is increasingly more relevant for today.

Hein de Haas

Hein is Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He was a founding member and director of the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford. He is a co-author of The Age of Migration, a leading textbook in the field of migration. You can find more information and free downloads of his publications on his website. He also maintains a blog – we recommend this entry titled “Human migration: myths, hysteria and facts“.

Sign up now for our newest course, A Migrant’s View, here. It’s a bit different than our other courses, focussing on both research about so-called “origin countries” (where migrants and refugees come from) and stories of arrival, waiting, and return. And don’t miss our next course on integration and diversity in Europe! Sign up here to receive the full series once it’s finished.