Globalization, Migration and Development


  • John Samuel Carleton University, Ottawa Ontario
  • Susan George Carleton University, Ottawa Ontario



Migration may become the most important branch of demography in the early decades of the new millennium in a rapidly globalizing world. This paper discusses the causes, costs and benefits of international migration to countries of the South and North, and key issues of common concern. International migration is as old as national boundaries, though its nature, volume, direction, causes and consequences have changed. The causes of migration are rooted in the rate of population growth and the proportion of youth in the population, their education and training, employment opportunities, income differentials in society, communication and transportation facilities, political freedom and human rights and level of urbanization. Migration benefits the South through remittances of migrants, improves the economic welfare of the population (particularly women) of South countries generally, increases investment, and leads to structural changes in the economy. However, emigration from the South has costs too, be they social or caused by factors such as brain drain. The North also benefits by migration through enhancement of economic growth, development of natural resources, improved employment prospects, social development and through exposure to immigrants’ new cultures and lifestyles. Migration also has costs to the North such as of immigrant integration, a certain amount of destabilization of the economy, illegal immigration, and social problems of discrimination and exploitation. Issues common to both North and South include impact on private investment, trade, international cooperation, and sustainable development. Both North and South face a dilemma in seeking an appropriate balance between importing South’s labour or its products and exporting capital and technology from the North.