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

March 02, 2017

Urbanization in the Developing World

Daniel Brook

This global reporting project on urbanization in the developing world examines how three major countries—China, India, and Mexico—are dealing with a similar challenge in their own unique ways.

February 22, 2017

The East African Migrant Smuggling Trail

Michael Scott Moore

Smugglers along the trail from East Africa to Europe, through Libya, tend to look after their own. Are former Somali pirates running Somali migrants?

January 13, 2017

Singapore Runaways

Xyza Bacani

Singapore is a prosperous country in Asia and migrant workers have played an important role in its success, but at what cost?

January 04, 2017

China's Human Snakes Return

Rong Xiaoqing

Why are people who were smuggled to the U.S. from a rural high school in China three decades ago now going back to China?

December 23, 2016

Refugee Boom and Bust: A Global Gold Rush

Malia Politzer, Emily Kassie

From smugglers in Agadez, to factory owners in Turkey, to the Italian and Nigerian mafias in Italy, and small business owners in Greece, people making a killing off the global migrant crisis.

December 20, 2016

The Missing Migrants: Families Search for Answers

Aaron Nelsen, Julysa Sosa

For years Central Americans have transited Mexico en route to the United States, many are never heard from again. In a country teeming with the disappeared, Central American mothers search for theirs.

A Few Things to Know About Why Treaties Matter

The U.S. has ratified more than 370 treaties with American Indian nations. Yet many Americans know little about the treaties that shaped, and continue to impact, the country today.

Meet the Journalist: Laura Flanders

The first time she visited Northern Ireland, Laura Flanders, who grew up in London, was just 22 years old. Thirty years later, she returns to report on how the country may have changed.

Meet the Journalist: Alexandria Bombach

Documentary filmmaker Alexandria Bombach talks about the making of "Afghanistan by Choice," a film that features the lives of five Afghans who are choosing to stay, leave on a special visa, or leave illegally.