Not Everyone Moves from South to North

  It is a common misperception that immigration flows come from southern poor countries to rich industrialized nations in the Northern Hemisphere. But immigration patterns are more complex than the outdated notion of a man leaving his family and heading north to seek work. Covering Migration in the Americas was the topic of this year’s Austin Forum, an annual event, hosted by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, where Latin American journalists gather at The University of Texas to discuss the challenges of covering current issues.  At that conference, I learned immigration seems to be more like a circle than a straight line, since most countries are both senders and receivers of people. According to U.S. Census data, the United States is a country of over 38 million immigrants. While America attracts many immigrants, only 2.4 million Americans venture to live overseas, according to World Bank data. Half a million U.S. citizens live in Mexico, the most of any destination abroad, while Mexicans are the largest foreign-born population in the United States. Like migration between Mexico and the U.S, immigration flows occur mostly within the same region. Paraguayans, Bolivians and Peruvians migrate to Argentina. Argentines seek jobs in Chile or Brazil. Nicaraguans go to Costa Rica and Salvadorans to Belize. According to a recent article from The Economist, the same migration happens across continents; 7.5 million people leave Africa for Europe,...

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