Migration is the movement of people from one place to another. The reasons for migration can be economic, social, political or environmental. There are usually push factors and pull factors at work.
Migration impacts on both the place left behind, and on the place where migrants settle.
What is migration?
Migration is the movement of people from one place to another.
- Internal migration is when people migrate within the same country or region – for example, moving from London to Plymouth.
- International migration is when people migrate from one country to another – for example, moving from Mexico to the USA.
Two key migration terms
- Emigration – when someone leaves a country.
- Immigration – when someone enters a country.
Why do people migrate?
People migrate for many different reasons. These reasons can be classified aseconomic, social, political or environmental:
- economic migration – moving to find work or follow a particular career path
- social migration – moving somewhere for a better quality of life or to be closer to family or friends
- political migration – moving to escape political persecution or war
- environmental causes of migration include natural disasters such as flooding
Some people choose to migrate, eg someone who moves to another country to enhance their career opportunities. Some people are forced to migrate, eg someone who moves due to war or famine.
A refugee is someone who has left their home and does not have a new home to go to. Often refugees do not carry many possessions with them and do not have a clear idea of where they may finally settle.
Push and pull factors
Push factors are the reasons why people leave an area. They include:
- lack of services
- lack of safety
- high crime
- crop failure
Pull factors are the reasons why people move to a particular area. They include:
- higher employment
- more wealth
- better services
- good climate
- safer, less crime
- political stability
- more fertile land
- lower risk from natural hazards
Migration usually happens as a result of a combination of these push and pull factors.
Migration push and pull factors
Patterns of migration
People migrate all the time…
Within the EU
Since the EU was formed, it is easier to migrate between countries.
Within the EU migrants may come:
- from different countries in the EU
- from outside of the EU
In 2004 Poland, and seven other Eastern European countries joined the EU. This increased migration into the UK. The largest group of migrants were from Poland.
Migration from outside the EU
Immigrants after the world wars mainly came from commonwealth countries. Immigration was encouraged by the government. Many immigrants provided labour for textile factories, transport, health or steelworks. The UK tightened migration controls in the 1970s.