Issue

Population & Migration

Population and migration issues are fraught with moral positions, confusion, and unexpected connections.

We cannot talk about population growth without also discussing decline; or contraception, without faith and medical technology. It is the mother of cross-cutting issues—at the intersection of economics, environment, gender roles, culture, politics, and religion. The population question is about the possibility and necessity of balancing the needs of nature and human civilization—and whether we can hope to or should have any say over the process.

The issue is global. Overpopulation of one region will seek release in an under-populated region. Stronger economies will be a magnet for those from weaker economies. Local carbon emissions will increase temperatures and change global weather patterns, disrupting food supplies and sowing insecurity. Diseases that begin in crowded slums can travel the world. Aging populations could lead to long-term economic depression, decreasing our ability to address the great problems we face such as environmental degradation.

Changing demographics in countries where men far outnumber the women often leads to human trafficking. Basic human rights are abused in countries where entire communities live without citizenship rights—unable to vote, own property, travel, work legally, or attend school.
Pulitzer Center grantees look at the effects of migration on climate and business, the efforts of immigrants to preserve their cultural identity, and the sacrifices they make in leaving family behind. Our journalists ask tough questions: How do refugees mobilize to take care of themselves when aid agencies fail?

Population & Migration exposes the risks and dangers refugees and migrants face as they leave one nation to seek a better home and a fresh start—only to find more obstacles and new threats. Resettlement presents its own set of challenges; hopes and promises prove illusory.

Population & Migration

January 25, 2015

Beijing's 'Rat Tribe'

Sim Chi Yin, Ian Johnson

Living beneath Beijing's skyscrapers and residential blocks are an estimated 1 million migrant workers. Dubbed the "Rat Tribe", these low-wage workers make a home in windowless basement cubicles.

December 05, 2014

A War’s Diaspora: Syrian Refugees in a Troubled Europe

Joanna Kakissis, Holly Pickett

Thousands of displaced Syrians have made treacherous journeys across land and sea to the safe haven of Europe. But many here don’t want them. How are the new immigrants adapting and adjusting?

October 03, 2014

The Parsis: India's Shrinking Population

Rosalie Murphy

Facing a growing city and shrinking population, Mumbai's Parsis are urgently seeking ways to care for their elderly, preserve their cultural heritage, and ensure the survival of their religion.

September 25, 2014

Ethiopia: Humankind's Origin and Survival

Amy Maxmen

While paleontologists push the dates of our origins back in time, agricultural scientists are trying to ensure that humans last long into the future.

September 16, 2014

The Last Refugees: Bhutanese in Nepal

Julia Rendleman, Moriah Balingit

Bhutanese refugees in Nepal never got much international attention and now, after more than 20 years living in camps, they are being resettled around the world. Will their cultural identity survive?

September 11, 2014

Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Selin Thomas

Boston University student fellow Selin Thomas documents people on the margins as she tells stories of the Syrian conflict.

In Search of a Past in Macau

Adopted at age of 2, Qiang Zhang spent the last four decades of his life trying to find his biological parents—unsuccessfully. Now, he works at a cemetery so others won't have the same fate.

Meet Students From Bangladesh

Students at solar-powered school boats along the Atrai River in northwestern Bangladesh talk about their studies, ambitions and daily life in an area marked by monsoons, water and sanitation challenges and one of the most densely populated regions on earth.

Meet Jon Sawyer

Jon Sawyer is founding director of the Pulitzer Center. His assignments have taken him to some five dozen countries, with special projects ranging from southern Africa, Cuba and Haiti to Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China.

Pulitzer Center Visits West Coast

Pulitzer Center journalists Misha Friedman, Jon Cohen and Amy Maxmen spoke to 425 people about their work featured in the e-book "To End AIDS" at different events in the San Francisco area last week.