chapter  8
Origin-destination cultural distance and international migration
Pages 22

While there is a considerable literature that examines the determinants of international migration, it is only recently that researchers have begun to consider the cultural differences between immigrants’ source and destination countries as a possible determinant of international migration flows.1 Because migration policy has been, and remains, a prominent and often contentious social and political issue in many countries, the lack of focus on the potential influence of cultural differences on international migration flows is somewhat surprising. In 2010, more than three percent of the world’s population (about 215 million individuals) lived outside of their country of birth (UN, 2012). This emphasizes the importance of a more complete understanding of the factors that determine immigrant inflows and, thus, immigrant stocks. Also, in a great many instances, considerable differences exist between the cultures of migrants’ source and destination countries. For example, two thirds or more of all international migrants originate in the global South; however, the majority of all migrants reside in the North (IOM, 2013).