Youth, Migration & Development

Opiekun: dr Paula Pustułka

  • Youth in global mobility processes;
  • Young migrants around the world;
  • International migration of young Poles and Europeans;
  • Internal migration of youth within the broader processes of globalization and urbanization;
  • Migration and emerging adulthood: youth in family and professional roles;
  • Youth in the era of global inequality;
  • Precariousness of youth locally and globally;
  • Youth and the theories of social development, world systems, global and sustainable development;
  • Social and political remittances among youth;
  • Youth (including young migrants) in the agenda of the international action for development (e.g. regarding health, education, gender equality, poverty reduction, human rights and combating climate change). 

While the average age of a global migrant stands at 39-years and is generally increasing in recent years, it nevertheless indicates that youth constitutes a major group among those partaking in international mobility. In 2013, young people aged 15 to 34 amassed to 33.1% of the global migrant population. For developing countries, this rate was even higher at 37.9% (UN 2013). Moreover, in some regions of the world – e.g. Latin America and the Caribbean- a pronounced tendency of the migrant stock’s “rejuvenation” could be observed. From a demographic standpoint, the global population flows include vast numbers of people who became “young adults” either shortly before or just after migration. In the Youth, Migration & Development research area, we on the one hand tackle the issues surrounding the processes of emerging adulthood and other experiences linked to mobility at a young age on the individual (micro) level, yet, on the other hand, seek to contextualize these processes on the macro-scale of social structures/ societies. For the latter, we demonstrate the entanglements of youth situation in different countries and regions characterized by discrepant levels of social development. We adopt and apply the lens of migration studies in order to demonstrate the causes and consequences of how countries and individuals are positioned and affected by the international mobility of youth population.

In the European context, we depict a wide range of young migrants’ experiences, which encompass, among others: intercontinental influx of under-30-year-olds among the refugees and economic migrants from the developing countries, out-flows from CEE/post-communist block directed towards Western Europe global mobility of international students and elites.

We incorporate internal migration to our investigations as it can be seen as a direct response to the broader processes of urbanization, and serves as a mirror to the realities faced by youth in the post-industrial era. Our interest lies in showing how internal and international migration should (and needs to) be analyzed through the prism of regional and global inequalities, particularly those tied to access to resources (financial, educational, natural and so on). Young people not only persist as the social stratum most prone to mobility, but are also the most vulnerable to contemporary precariousness. What is more, in many regions of the world moving away from one’s place of origin remains the sole chance for youth to find decent work, escape poverty, or evade persecution and violence. What is more, we connect theories of development with migration studies, for instance by examining the perspectives of sending and receiving countries across regions. This way, we are able to assess whether scial and political transfer of migrant remittances may contribute to social development locally, nationally and regionally. Drawing on the UN reports and Millennium Development, we reflect on the place and position of young people in the broad international agendas. Consequently, while we refrain from seeing migration as a panacea for non-sustainable development, we attempt to bring together knowledge on migration and development in hopes of better informing and shaping youth policy.

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