Migration is the movement of people from one place to another.

Net migration is the number of immigrants minus (-) the number of emigrants

Migration journeys to the European Union
Map showing migration routes, Credit: HRW

Types of migration

Internal migration vs international migration: Internal migration is when people move to a different place within the same country, whereas international migration involves the crossing of a country’s border.

Rural to urban/urban to rural/ urban to urban/ rural to rural: from what type of settlement people are moving to the type of their new settlement. Rural to urban migration is common in developing nations, when people seek work in the cities (where new industries and employment opportunities are developing. Rural to urban migration is often urbanisation. Urban to rural migration is most common in MEDC’s as living is cheaper and more attractive in less industrial areas.

Involuntary vs voluntary: Voluntary means that people choose to move for a better standard of living (better jobs and higher wages). Voluntary migration is mostly economic migration. Involuntary migration is when people are forced to move or they will face extreme hardship, persecution or death. People moving abroad involuntarily are usually refugees.

Temporary or permanent: Temporary migrant stay in an area for a limited amount of time (eg. seasonal migrants). Permanent migrants move and don’t return home.

Push and pull factors

Push factors are the reasons that cause people to move away from their homes. Pull factors are the factors that attract migrants to their destination.

Push factors include:

  • war, political and religious persecution
  • unemployment and low wages
  • poor standard of living
  • poor healthcare and education
  • natural disasters eg. flood , volcanic eruptions, drought
  • famine

Pull factors include:

  • economic and political stability and safety from conflict and persecution
  • better job prospects
  • better standard of living
  • good healthcare and education
  • proximity to relatives and friends
  • proximity to entertainment and leisure facilities

Benefits and disadvantages of international migration

Advantages for the migrant
  • Wages may be higher in the country of origing
  • Wider choise of job opportunities
  • Better chance to develop new skills
  • Support family living abroad throught remittances
  • Learn a new language
Disadvantages for the migrants
Advantages for country of origin
  • Remittances as a source of income
  • Emigration may help reduce unemployment and underemployment
  • Less pressure on healthcare and education
  • Less pressure on housing infrastructure
  • Temporary migrants might bring innovation to the country
Disadvantages for country of origin
  • Young highly skilled labour with vital skills departs, leading to brain-drain and fewer innovations
  • Ageing population due to large outflow of young migrants
  • Labour force may fall, reducing agricultural or industrial output
  • Return migrants may question traditional values, leading to cultural division among the community
Advantages for country of destination
  • Greater availability of labour helps reduce the cost for businesses and may reduce inflation
  • Cultural diversity enriches the community
  • Influx of young migrants counteracts the effects of an ageing population
Disadvantages for country of destination
  • Migrants may be perceived as taking jobs from the local communtiy
  • Pressure on housing infrastrucure and healthcare and education
  • Change in ethnic mix may lead to tension
  • Population pressure may be a burden for the environment

Factors preventing migrationsea, mountains, water

  • High cost of moving
  • Legal barriers, eg. VISA, passports
  • Language barriers
  • Lack of safe transport
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Lack of temporary accomodation