Global Shifts: Urbanization, Migration, and Demography

Whether through migration or culture, choice or necessity, the adaptation of populations to changing environmental, social, political, and security contexts has always been critical to human existence.

Today’s global reality calls for no less. Political unrest, protracted conflict, climate change, population ageing, and economic hardship are just some of the complex issues contributing to dramatic population shifts.

These issues demand sophisticated and coordinated global attention that acknowledges how “global shifts” can have tremendous consequences for social order, human rights, governance, and cultural practices, among others. At a moment when the world is seeing the greatest level of displacement since World War II, unprecedented rates and patterns of urbanization, and new demographic trends, better understanding these complex and intersecting global phenomena is critical to identifying more salient policy responses.

This research theme identifies and advances evidence-based policies that - to borrow from the late Executive Director of the U.N. Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin - promote “people-centered, sensitive, humane, dignified, gender-responsive, and prompt” attention to people experiencing these global shifts.