How Migration Really Works: The Facts About the Most Divisive Issue in Politics (Hardcover)

How Migration Really Works: The Facts About the Most Divisive Issue in Politics By Hein de Haas Cover Image

How Migration Really Works: The Facts About the Most Divisive Issue in Politics (Hardcover)


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An authoritative guide to global migration that corrects decades of misunderstanding and misguided policy, "defying orthodoxy on all sides of the debate" (Yascha Mounk, author of The Identity Trap​).

As debates on immigration have reached fever pitch, so has political and media fearmongering. But what are the facts behind the headlines?

Drawing on three decades of research, migration expert Hein de Haas destroys the myths that politicians, interest groups, and media spread about immigration. He reveals: 
  • Global migration is not at an all-time high 
  • Climate change will not lead to mass migration 
  • Immigration mainly benefits the wealthy, not workers 
  • Border restrictions have paradoxically produced more migration 

Ultimately, de Haas shows migration not as a problem to be solved, nor as a solution to a problem, but as it really is.  

This book is an essential guide to one of our most divisive political issues, showing how we can move beyond today’s deeply polarized debate and make migration work better for everyone. 
Hein de Haas is professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He formerly taught at the University of Oxford, where he codirected the International Migration Institute (IMI). One of the world’s top migration scholars, he continues to direct IMI from its current home at UvA. He lives in Amsterdam. 
Product Details ISBN: 9781541604315
ISBN-10: 1541604318
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: December 19th, 2023
Pages: 464
Language: English
“An elegant book that focuses on the actual trends and patterns of migration—as well as its causes and impact—rather than on what migration ‘ought to be,’ as perceived by wishful (and often deceitful) ideologues ... Armed with Mr. de Haas’s arguments, citizens will be better placed to challenge Western politicians when they make dubious assertions about the migrants in our midst."—Wall Street Journal

"A timely study of human migration that argues against the many harmful, often xenophobic myths about migrants."—Lit Hub

“[How Migration Really Works] boldly and exhaustively investigates the trends of migration and demands a more truthful and far more holistic conversation.”—Boston Globe

"Sociologist Hein de Haas analyzes 22 myths about migration from across the political spectrum. He shows that the arguments made by supporters as well as opponents of migration are almost always simplistic, incomplete, and, sometimes, just plain wrong. De Haas offers a rare and welcome voice of evidence-based clarity on one of the world’s hottest and most complex political issues."—Christian Science Monitor

“A powerful debunking of myths about global migration, and an indictment of the political dishonesty that generates them.”—The Guardian

“Impressively wide-ranging… a welcome corrective to common misconceptions.”—Nature

“This deeply researched study by a leading sociologist blows open a hot political issue and should have Left and Right up in arms.”—The Telegraph

“Authoritatively written… a valuable book that, whatever one’s views on immigration, will challenge many of the reader’s idées reçues and leave them better informed.”—The Times

“Everyone who starts geographer Hein de Haas’s How Migration Really Works will have opinions about migration – few will finish with their preconceptions intact…I am rereading this book (something crabbed reviewers never normally do).”
 —New Scientist

“Compelling . . . it engages with the arguments behind the myths . . . How Migration Really Works ultimately uses its convincing research to ask us to worry less about migration. In doing so, it instead alights upon global inequality as the true cause for concern.”—Chatham House, The World Today

“Essential reading, given the current climate of misinformation around immigration.”—Library Journal (Starred)

“A convincing argument that most of what we believe about immigration is wrong… A vital, page-turning education.”—Kirkus (Starred)

“[A] highly informative account.”—Publishers Weekly

"What if the central assumptions of the migration debate were plainly false? In his latest book, Hein de Haas challenges common myths about migration, defying orthodoxy on all sides of the debate, and bringing measured and thoughtful analysis to a vitriolic and polarized issue. How Migration Really Works is a necessary read for anyone interested in migration.”—Yascha Mounk, author of The Identity Trap

“We need much more rigorous scholarship and level-headed analysis of global migration trends—and this exhaustive new book by Hein de Haas is a great place to start. At this urgent moment in Western political tensions over migration, he provides remarkable clarity and guidance on how to better navigate the pressing social and economic challenges ahead.”—Dr. Parag Khanna, author of Move

“A careful, balanced, and convincing take on one of the most divisive issues of our age. Backed by masses of data, Hein de Haas challenges much of what we think is obvious about migration, systematically busting myths and exposing propaganda from all across the political spectrum.”—Ian Morris, author of Why The West Rules – For Now

“Immigration has been a leading political issue for decades. Yet the debate has been a triumph of feelings over facts. This brilliant book sheds light on a topic that will only become more relevant in the years ahead.”—Aaron Bastani, Novara Media

“Packed with information, How Migration Really Works is destined to become a major reference work in the field of migration studies. In a combative style, de Haas takes on the many myths about migration promoted by multiple actors, including international organizations and governments. It is a book worth arguing with.”—Alejandro Portes, Princeton University