№ 1, June 2013
The Effect of Educational Attainment on Adult Mortality
in the U.S.
By Robert A. Hummer and Elaine M. Hernandez
In 2011, U.S. mortality rates reached record lows for
both women and men; as a result, life expectancy at birth reached
record highs: 81 years for women and 76 years for men. These are
As recently as 1960, women's life expectancy at birth
was only 73.1 years and men's only 66.6 years.2 Within 50 years,
life expectancy at birth increased by 8 years for women and nearly
10 years for men.
Unfortunately, these increases in life expectancy mask
very wide disparities among population groups. These differences
represent critical health and social issues with important implications
for policymakers. Because well-educated individuals have a much
longer life expectancy, is such an accomplishment (or at least a
substantial improvement) possible for other subgroups?
In this Population Bulletin, we examine educational
differences in U.S. adult mortality and life expectancy. We provide
a balanced and up-to-date portrait of the key results and implications
of research in this area. We address five major issues: What is
the current association between educational attainment and adult
mortality? Have educational differences in adult mortality changed
over the past 50 years? Why do such wide educational differences
in adult mortality now exist? What are the policy implications of
recent education-mortality research? And what are the implications
of recent work in this area for future education-mortality research?
№ 2, November 2013
The Global Challenge of Managing Migration
By Philip Martin
The number of international migrants more than doubled
between 1980 and 2010, from 103 million to 220 million. In 2013,
the number of international migrants was 232 million and is projected
to double to over 400 million by 2050.
About 60 percent of global migrants are in the 30 or
more industrialized countries. Some 40 percent of migrants are in
the 170 poorer developing countries. Almost half of the world's
migrants are women, 15 percent of migrants are under 20, and less
than 7 percent of all international migrants are refugees.
The most significant recent change in international
migration patterns is rising South-North migration. Between 1990
and 2010, the share of all international migrants in industrialized
countries rose from 53 percent to 59 percent. The largest South-North
migration corridor is Mexico-United States: Over 13 million Mexicans
have moved to the United States since 1990.
This Population Bulletin explains why people cross national
borders, the effects of international migration on sending and receiving
countries, and the struggle to improve migration management. The
Bulletin examines international migration by region: North America
and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Africa, and
Oceania, and highlights major migration and development issues,
including whether remittances, the money sent home by migrant workers
abroad, speed development in migrant-sending countries.
№ 1, June 2014
Migration and the Environment
By Jason Bremner and Lori M. Hunter
Throughout human history, people have been on the move-exploring
new places; pursuing work opportunities; fleeing conflict; or involuntarily
migrating due to changing political, social, or environmental conditions.
Today there are an estimated 230 million international
migrants, a number that is projected to double to over 400 million
by 2050.1 Beyond the people who cross international borders, probably
more than two to three times as many are internal migrants, people
who have moved within their own countries.
The reasons for moving are complex, but over the past
decade, as the evidence of global climate change has accumulated,
academics, policymakers, and the media have given more attention
to migration as a result of environmental change.
A major concern is whether climate change will displace
large numbers of vulnerable people around the world. For example,
because of rising sea levels, the population exposed to flooding
during extreme storms is expected to grow dramatically over the
The impacts of climate change will vary widely across
the globe-some regions will experience drought and increased temperatures
while others will experience more extreme weather such as hurricanes.
But people in rural areas, where households rely daily on their
local environment, will feel these effects most intensely. A widely
cited article estimated that more than 25 million people were displaced
by environmental factors in 1995 and claimed that as global warming
takes hold, more than 200 million people could be affected by future
climate change.3 Many, however, disputed these numbers and rightly
clarified that scientists, particularly experts in migration, have
little understanding of migration-environment relationships.
In spite of dozens of academic publications and several
international conferences, well-documented cases of environmentally
induced migration are mostly limited to large-scale events such
as Hurricane Katrina in the United States or the tsunami that affected
Indonesia, in which millions of people were displaced due to rapid
and dramatic change. The still unclear long-term consequences of
these types of events, as well as slower-acting forms of environmental
change such as long-term droughts and soil degradation, limit our
ability to predict the scale and nature of future human migration
under accelerating global environmental change. New research, however,
continues to shed light on the relationships between migration and
This Population Bulletin explores the relationship between
migration and the environment and highlights innovative research
from the Population Centers funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This research
uses new approaches to link demographic, social, and environmental
science methods, enabling researchers to more explicitly link people
to the environment on which they depend. This linking, combined
with following people over time, permits researchers to determine
how environmental change contributes to people's mobility and how
migration results in environmental change.
The research suggests that the popular narrative of
"environmental refugees" is oversimplified and inaccurate;
rather, environmentally induced migration can be temporary, and
is often within a country and over relatively short distances. Smaller
numbers of people move across international borders.
Also, because of the variety of ways in which migration
is a response to environmental change, policies on migration are
unlikely to be adaptable enough to different situations and environmental
pressures. Resilience policies and programs, however, present an
opportunity to reduce the impacts of disasters and environmental
change, and to assess environmental migration in context.
№ 2, November 2014
The demography of inequality in the United States
By Mark Mather and Beth Jarosz
A convergence of demographic trends and disparities
is contributing to a new economic reality for the U.S. population,
characterized by higher levels of poverty and inequality. Population
aging, growing racial/ethnic diversity, changing family structure,
and regional population shifts are changing the U.S. demographic
landscape and exacerbating differences between the haves and the
These demographic trends are occurring against a backdrop of rising
inequality in the United States. Since the Great Recession, public
discourse has focused primarily on the earnings of chief executives
in comparison with low-wage workers. But broader measures of income
inequality also show a growing gap between those at the top and
those at the bottom.
In this Population Bulletin, we investigate the intersection
between demography and inequality in the United States, with a focus
on regional patterns and differences by age, race/ethnicity, gender,
and family structure. We stress the importance of closing gaps in
education to put the next generation of workers and their children
on a path to succeed in the labor force and advance the U.S. economy.