Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Return Return Migration

No, the post title is not a typo. The financial meltdown in Greece continues to generate fascinating migration patterns. Early last month, I looked at Greek outmigration. The emigrants followed old trails to familiar destinations. You go where you know:

Greek-Americans and their children began moving out of Astoria decades ago, abandoning the Queens neighborhood that once boasted the world's largest population of Hellenic immigrants for the suburbs or their homeland.

But amid the political and economic turmoil that has shaken Greece this year, that tide may again be shifting. The evidence—only anecdotal so far—can be seen in the clientele at Immigration Advocacy Services, an Astoria-based nonprofit where many "older clients are coming in with questions like, 'How can I get my nephew here from Greece?'" said director Debra Gilmore.

Chain migration rules. I think of relocation as a link between two communities, not a zero sum game. That's a defining feature of the globalization of talent era. The theoretical discussion of stream migration is a good example of avant-garde thinking on the subject. It puts brain drain in a different light.

Increasing geographic mobility enhances economic development. Migration is as important as education. We don't pay enough attention to the dividends of the former. Move to improve.

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