Complex effects of migration patterns on supply capacities


Around 20% of people living in Austria today are international migrants. As a destination country for immigration, Austria is ahead of Germany (15.7%), the USA (15.4%), Great Britain (14%) and France (14%). In addition, the share of migrants in the country’s population has almost doubled over the past 30 years, increasing from 10% in 1990 to the current level. Due to conflicts, disasters and demographic expansion in the countries of origin combined with the decline in birth rates in Austria, the proportion of international migrants will continue to rise in the coming decades. Recent critical events, such as the Russian attacks on Ukraine in 2022, forced millions of people to move to safer regions, highlighting the fragile stability of some systems and the value of data and knowledge about how and why migrants move (Gerlach 2022, Patel 2022, IOM 2022). Unforeseen events can result in thousands of people arriving in a short period of time. Within a few weeks, some places in Austria and elsewhere suddenly have to accommodate hundreds of people. Migrants can ease the pressures of an aging population, reduce the burden of population decline, and lead to an increase in production and consumption habits in the destination region. In turn, services such as housing, transport, education and healthcare may face highly synchronous pressures. Managing mass migration requires access to better and more coordinated data, real-time information about people’s arrivals and their selectivity, to ministries and local organizations to provide a quick overview of the situation. But even in normal times with consistent immigration, instruments are needed that support the planning of sustainable measures for the integration of refugees and asylum seekers in particular. The proposed project aims to build a large, multidimensional, long-term data set that integrates various sources of information for Austria. We will provide interactive tools to understand population dynamics, its heterogeneity and the impact of migrants entering the country. In continuation and building on the project “Complex effects of migration patterns on supply capacities”, funded by the Federal Ministry of the Interior under project number 2022-0.392.231, we will integrate the data infrastructure established with other data sources and link it to the effects of migration. The project will provide six interactive dashboards that can be used by public administrations, such as federal ministries, to take data and evidence-based measures to manage the influx of migrants in an everyday scenario and in moments of high stress, such as during times of to evaluate, assess and shape conflicts or disasters in other countries. New migration shocks are likely to occur due to climate disasters or conflicts. The dashboards are intended to become a primary tool for managing mass migration, capable of responding to rapid and difficult circumstances. Identifying supply shortages in the areas of health, work and education enables two types of measures. First: improve resource allocation. Expanding capacity requires time and resources, so the tool can highlight areas with increased supply needs. Responding quickly to a sudden spike in demand for services improves the integration of migrants into their host communities. Secondly, the selectivity of migrants should be improved. Some destinations are better equipped to accommodate the arrival of hundreds of people, but they may not be the preferred destination of immigrants. Communicating expectations regarding health, work and education will help reduce the gap between resources and demand. In terms of research, networked and integrated up-to-date information on the influx of people opens up new avenues for conducting scientific analysis on the topic Migration. Mass movements of people change the spatial distribution of the population and explain why some places grow faster than others. The size of cities, the hierarchy, the shape and the dynamics are mainly influenced by migration. Many demographic aspects, such as aging and gender balance, are vulnerable to migration. However, migration has yet to be fully understood and the research field still has many unanswered questions. In addition, the most recent developments


02.01.2024 – 
Rafael Prieto-Curiel, faculty member at the Complexity Science Hub © Anja Böck

Rafael Prieto-Curiel

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