The latest UN report on Human Development is out.
Most of these UN reports are simply rationalizations on why rich countries should send money to poor countries or ways to push a political agenda. Indices like “Building the capabilities of women” or even how you measure poverty in developed countries are very controversial to say the least.
However, if you dig into the data you can find some interesting facts. The data around ‘human movement’ is very interesting. For instance, here is the annual growth rate in international migration.
Some countries that one would assume depend a lot on immigrants, like Canada (increase of 1.8%), Australia (2.1%) and US (2.9%) have grown not as much as others that we don’t initially think of as immigrant friendly (Norway increased 4%, Iceland 4.3% and Finland 3.7%). Immigration levels in Europe are also surprisingly high (Spain 6.9%, Italy 4.2% and Germany 3.7%) but I suspect that “intra EU” counts for the large majority of this. It’s too bad that there is no attempt in measuring how easy/difficult it is to migrate to these countries. After all, migration is really how people ‘vote with their feet’ but the options available are far from optimal. I can see how a desperate person in Africa finds easier to move to another less dismal country within Africa than moving to Australia.
Now the other side of the coin is emigration. Here the Nordic countries and EU overall have much higher levels than one would expect as well (Ireland 20%!, Switzerland 5.6%, Finland and UK 6.6%) and the only developed countries that have very low levels of emigration are the US (0.8%) and Japan (0.7%). Again I think that the EU system impacts these numbers greatly.
For my brazilian friends, I also found interesting how Brazil is a ‘closed’ country. Current immigration rates are actually lower than they were in 1960 (-1.6% annual growth rate) and immigrants as a percentage of total population is increadibly low (0.4%!) even when compared to very homogeneous countries like Japan (1.6%) or Korea (1.2%). On the other hand, emigration from Brazil is also very low (0.5%). What does that mean? Is the culprit here the fact that Portuguese is an unique language in the region? Or maybe the difficulties of adapting to/from a very unusual culture?
I have no idea.