Epidemiology for public health
Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Epidemiology for public health - ISS

The numbers speak for themselves. The people and countries involved, the causes and also the routes and means of transport may differ, but migration is steadily growing worldwide. Data published by the Internal Organization for Migration (IOM) in its “World Migration Report 2010 - The Future of Migration: Building Capacities for Change” (pdf 12.4 Mb) showed that, globally, the number of migrants had risen from 150 million in 2000 to 214 million in 2010, and that this growing trend was projected to continue in future years. Indeed, the figure could rise to 405 million by 2050, as a result of growing demographic disparities, the effects of environmental change, new global political and economic dynamics, technological revolutions and social networks. The potential social and health implications are considerable. Migratory flows involve a large variety of populations and groups of people (e.g. workers, students, refugees), each with different determinants of health, needs and levels of vulnerability. In addition, migration has a direct and wide-ranging impact on the daily lives of both migrants and local populations. One of the challenges facing public health is to ensure that all people who, for different reasons, are socially vulnerable can access health protection services and pathways. Indeed, the main determinants of health are known to include social and economic factors that affect lifestyles and access to healthcare services. The health of migrants and migration-related health issues should therefore remain high on the international agenda of governments and  civil society, as suggested by the WHO resolution on the health of migrants (pdf 16.7 kb) adopted at the 61st World Health Assembly in 2008.


Publication date: 26 January 2021