Edited by Peter Nijkamp, Jacques Poot and Mediha Sahin
Chapter 1: Migration impact assessment: a state of the art
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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