Project Category: Migration and Development

Plenty of media coverage and policymaking in the West has focused on African migration to Europe, fueling a widespread perception that Europe is the destination of choice for Africans seeking economic opportunity. But the reality differs widely from this narrative, according to an IPL analysis of data collected at transit hubs across West and Central Africa. Only a small share of migrants surveyed want to reach Europe, and their motivations are complex.
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Many policymakers assume that living in or near an ethnic community makes immigrants less likely to integrate. They tend to overlook the ways these communities help newcomers gain a foothold in their new home. That support system can be especially beneficial for refugees, but countries often disperse them across resettlement locations in a way that discourages them from clustering. We studied refugees in Switzerland and found evidence that ethnic communities can help new arrivals find work.
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How well are immigrants integrating in the United States? Are they doing better or worse than in Germany or France? Under what conditions have immigrants most successfully integrated into their host societies? Despite great advances in social science, the answers to these important questions remain contested. IPL is working to support solutions through a new immigrant integration index.
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