The United Nations defines international migrants as persons who reside outside of their country of origin for one year or more. As of 2010 the UN estimated approximately 214 million international migrants.
International migration has undoubtedly become a pressing development issue in recent times, not only for governments and the international community but also for a broad range of society actors in both the global North and South.
Over the past few decades, a political, economic, social and demographic change in many parts of the world has stimulated migration of people to cities within and across countries. Other emerging issues including environmental/climate change has also been identified as a key feature of the drivers of migration. Globalization which facilitates communication and transportation has also influenced migration and interaction between migrants and non-migrants within and across national borders. Migration from developed to developing countries has been a common phenomenon, however recent evidence shows that there is a growing incidence of migration from one developing country. Furthermore, approximately half (49 percent) of all international migrants are women.
Newly available estimates of the migrant stock by age, produced by the Population Division of DESA, indicated that, by mid-2010, the global number of international migrants aged 15 to 24 was estimated at 27 million, constituting about one-eighth of the global migrant stock of 214 million. According to a UN report, young people represent a major proportion of those migrating annually given that in many cases, the age range 18 to 29 accounts for between 36 per cent and 57 per cent of international migrants.
Today’s youth have access to relatively cheap and easy means of transport, information about opportunities beyond their borders, and are more likely than ever to migrate for reasons ranging from family reunification to the desire for better education and employment opportunities to the need to escape war or conflicts.