Migration Impact Assessment

Migration Impact Assessment

New Horizons

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by Peter Nijkamp, Jacques Poot and Mediha Sahin

During the last few decades the world has experienced an unprecedented level of cross-border migration. While this has generated significant socio-economic gains for host countries, as well as sometimes for the countries of origin, the costs and benefits involved are unevenly distributed. Consequently, growing global population mobility is a hotly debated topic, both in the political arena and by the general public. Amidst a plethora of facts, opinions and emotions, the assessment of migration impacts must be grounded in a solid scientific evidence base. This analytical book outlines and applies a range of the scientific methods that are currently available in migration impact assessment (MIA). The book provides various North American and European case studies that quantify socio-economic consequences of migration for host societies and for immigrants themselves.

Chapter 1: Migration impact assessment: a state of the art

Edited by Peter Nijkamp, Jacques Poot and Mediha Sahin

Subjects: development studies, migration, economics and finance, regional economics, valuation, politics and public policy, migration, public policy, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration, regional economics


Migration is as old as humanity itself. Indeed it is no exaggeration to state that the evolution of human settlement and socio-economic–cultural development was shaped by migration. Throughout history, individuals and families have relocated, sometimes over considerable distances, to seek new opportunities or escape current threats. While migration has always implied the crossing of real, or imagined, frontiers and the residing in communities that are in many ways different from one’s birthplace, only after the emergence of the nation state in the nineteenth century did a distinction between internal and international migration formally arise and, with it, the question of how the settlement of new arrivals – or the emigration from a country – impacted on a nation’s citizens. Most countries of the world are increasingly affected by international migration: either as senders of emigrants, receivers of immigrants, or in many cases as both. The composition of the migrant population is often very different from that of the host population in terms of demographic, cultural and socio-economic characteristics. Migrant settlement is worldwide also predominantly concentrated in specific ‘attractor’ regions, in particular in metropolitan agglomerations of the developed world. The extent to which foreign migrants exert positive or negative long-range effects on the local, regional or national economy is, however, an underresearched topic in many countries.

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