How Much Does Migration Change Receiving Societies?

How Much Does Migration Change Receiving Societies?


You may have heard that immigrants alter the fabric of receiving societies. It’s true that migration contributes to the make-up of a culture in more ways than one. But this does not translate into fundamental changes to the structure of society, says Hein de Haas, migration expert and Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam.

In this episode, Hein offers examples of how immigrants adapt to the norms of their new environment and how political frameworks are not so easily swayed by the mere arrival of newcomers.

Recommended Reading

Members of a particular immigrant group do indeed vary in their activities and preferences. This article from The Atlantic explores how Cuban immigrants in the U.S. voted differently this season, across their community.

A photo gallery: What America’s immigrants looked like when they arrived at Ellis Island (very different from how they look today).

And how do destination/receiving countries and sending countries actually compare in terms of birthrate? Here’s a nifty chart on fertility trends around the world.

Parable of the Polygons is a playable version of Thomas Schelling’s model of neighborhood segregation. Play it to see how small, individual preferences on diversity can have stark implications for the segregation of societies. It was created in 2014, but it is increasingly more relevant for today.

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Hein de Hass

Hein de Haas

Hein is Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He was a founding member and director of the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford. He is a co-author of The Age of Migration, a leading textbook in the field of migration. You can find more information and free downloads of his publications on his website. He also maintains a blog – we recommend this entry titled “Human migration: myths, hysteria and facts” and this one on migration and climate change.