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January 2013, Volume 20, Number 1

OECD: Growth, Migrants

Better sanitation, medical services and access to food throughout the developing world have increased life expectancy in many developing countries, so that chronic diseases such as cancer account for two-thirds of deaths in the world today. Malnutrition and infectious and communicable diseases cause far fewer deaths today than in the past.

In 2010, 43 percent of deaths around the world occurred at age 70 and older, compared with 33 percent of deaths in 1990. The life expectancy of American men was 76 in 2010, and 80 for women.

The OECD predicts slower economic growth in industrial countries as population growth slows and residents age. The old-age dependency ratio, the number of people over the age of 65 for each 100 people ages 15 to 64, is expected to rise especially fast in China as a result of the one-child policy and longer life expectancy. Germany and Italy are projected to have old-age ratios above 55, meaning that there will be fewer than two working-age residents for every person over 65.

The OECD expects many adjustments in response to slow-growing and aging populations, including changes to pension systems that will require workers to continue working longer to earn full retirement benefits, subsidizing births and child care, and increasing immigration.

Migrants. The OECD reported that 4.2 million permanent-type migrants moved into 23 member states in 2008, down from 4.5 million in 2007. The OECD includes temporary visitors with renewable work and resident permits in its count of permanent-type migrants, including some types of guest workers and intra-company transfers, but not international students, even if they stay in the host country several years.

According to the OECD, the US had an inflow of 1.1 million permanent-type migrants in 2008, about a quarter of the total; Italy and Spain each had an inflow of about 400,000 migrants; the UK had 350,000; and Canada, Germany, Australia and Korea each 200,000 to 250,000. In the US, about two-thirds of permanent-type migrants joined settled family members; the family unification share of total settlement migration was about half in France and Sweden. In Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, over half of permanent-type migrants, with accompanying family members, were admitted for employment.

The OECD reported that 2.3 million temporary foreign workers were admitted in 2008, more than the 1.5 million permanent-type migrants admitted for employment. The US admitted about 450,000 temporary foreign workers, according to OECD, followed by 330,000 in Germany and 300,000 in Australia.

Some 355,000 foreigners applied for asylum in OECD countries in 2008, including over 30,000 each in the US, UK, Canada, France and Italy.

OECD. 2012. Looking to 2060: Long-Term Global Growth Prospects.