Monday, 4 April 2011

Comparing 'burdens'...adding Malta to the list

The Migrants at Sea blog had an interesting post recently that compared the numbers of immigrants reaching Italy and Tunisia. The comparison was based on the popular method of highlighting the proportional and relative impact of immigrant arrivals in various countries, taking into account factors such as population, population density, geographical area etc. This exercise runs the horrible risk of turning into a competition...”We received less Africans than you, but compared to our population density we’re far worse off than you are!”

There are clearly some valid reasons to use these methodologies, since for example smaller states do have real problems in finding the physical space to accommodate migrants and asylum-seekers. But of course there are countless other considerations one ought to make when calculating the challenges faced by any country: nationalities and composition of the arrivals; infrastructure; relocation/resettlement potential; availability of/access to funds, etc.

So, to follow up on the mentioned blog’s post, I’ll add the comparative figures for Malta (all figures are approximate).

Italy has so far received 20,000 persons and with a population of around 61,000,000 this means that Italy received 0.033 persons per 100 persons living in Italy.

Tunisia received 150,000 persons and has a population of around 10,600,000. That’s around 1.42 arrivals per 100 persons living in Tunisia.

Malta so far received 820 persons, and is populated with around 4,000,000. This makes it 0.21 persons per 100 persons living in Malta.

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