What is Migration?

Across periods of time, we have been witnessing the variations of populations across different nations around the world. These variations would either be about the increase in the number of people living in an area, or the decrease in such number. We call this movement of people in and out of populations as migration.

Migration is not a recent discovery. It has been done in all of history. This movement has affected a nation’s culture, lifestyle, and political stance. Others may have moved to a new area in order to inhabit such place. Yet there is more to migration that the increase or decrease of people living in a specific place.


On this article, we will be discussing about the basics of migration. The different types of migration are also explained in detail so you could differentiate one from another. Additionally, the pull and push factors of migration are discussed to shed some light on the different aspects that have an effect on migration.

Simply put, migration is the movement of people from one place to another with various intentions such as settling temporarily or permanently. It could also voluntarily or forced. It is worth noting that migration is frequently done in long distances, such as from one country to another.

Internal migration is also a practice where people would leave a region within their country in order to live in another region. This could be brought about by shifts of population into cities brought about by urbanization and sub-urbanization. Another factor could be the seasonal human migration which is primarily related to tourism and agriculture.

There are various data and statistics which show the existence of patterns in terms of world migration. Since 2008, the World Bank publishes its Migration and Remittances Factbook every year. The International Organization for Migration, on the other hand, publishes its World Migration Report every year since 1999. Furthermore, the United Nations Statistics Division keeps worldwide database migration report. These data would give a better understanding on the motives and patterns of migration.

The Migration and Remittances Factbook of 2011 by the World Bank has estimated that there were around 215.8 million immigrants in the year 2010. In 2013, the percentage of migrants around the globe has increase by 33%. The top five immigration countries are the United States, the Russian Federation, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. The top five countries of origin are Mexico, Spain, China, Ukraine, and Bangladesh.

It should be noted, however, that migration is not exclusive to humans. Animals could migrate too.

Animal migration refers to the long-distance movement of animals, typically on a seasonal basis. It could be observed in all major groups of animals including birds, reptiles, fish, mammals, and amphibians, among others.

There are various reasons why animals would migrate from one place to another. These would include the availability of food, the change of the season of the year, the local climate, or for mating. For example, wildebeest migrate yearly for seasonal grazing. Northern hemisphere birds, on the other hand, migrate to the southern hemisphere in preparation for winter.

Animal migration could take various forms depending on the species. It encompasses four related concepts: relocation of an individual on a greater scale both temporally and spatially, persistent straight movement, movement leading for the redistribution of animals within a population, and the seasonal movement of a population between two different areas.

What are Different Types of Migration?

Migration could come in different forms depending on the nature and the reason of the movement.

The first – and the most common – classification of migration refer to the nature of movement. This would include immigration and emigration. Immigration refers to the movement of persons or population to another country. Emigration, on the other hand, refers t o the movement of persons or populations from one country. For example, immigration of Filipinos to the United States and emigration of Indians from India.

The second classification of migration refers to permanence. Under permanence, we have permanent, temporary, voluntary, and forced. Permanent migration refers to the movement from one area to another without plans of returning to the place of origin. Temporary migration refers to the migration done on a limited time. Forced migration involves migrants leaving without any choice. Voluntary migration is the opposite of forced.

The third classification of migration refers to the nature of location. Under such classification, we have internal and international. Internal migration refers to a chance of residence within the country. It is also known as internal migration. International migration, on the other hand, refers to the change of residence to different nations or countries. It is also known as external migration.

There are other types of migration. Here are as follows.

1. Gross migration refers to the total number of arrivals of immigrants and the departures of emigrants.

2. Net migration refers to the difference between the total number of people coming in and the sum of people living out. It could also refer to the difference between the number of immigrants and the number of emigrants.

3. Impelled migration refers to the movement of people from a country or area because of unfavorable instances.

4. Step migration refers to the progressive migration from a shorter distance to a father destination.

5. Chain migration refers to ta series of migration which a defined group of people.

6. Rural-urban migration refers to the movement of people from the rural areas to a specific region in the urban area of a country. This could be brought about by the presence of better opportunities for work in the urban areas.

7. Interregional migration refers to the movement of populations from a region to another region in a country.

8. Intercontinental migration refers to the movement of people between and among different continents. For example, people from Asia would move to Europe.

9. Intracontinental migration refers to the movement of people between and among countries within the same continent. For example, people from the Thailand would move to Japan. Both countries are found in Asia.

10. Seasonal migration refers to the movement of people or animals due to climate or seasonal reasons. For instance, some people would move to another place in order to plants crops or harvest. Animals, on the other hand, would migrate to prepare for the winter season.

11. Return migration refers to the return of people to their country of origin after leaving the country which they went at.

Pull and Push Factors of Migration

People migrate to other places because of different reasons. Lee’s laws divide these reasons into two factors: pull factors and push factors.

Pull factors are the factors that would attract or encourage the persons to leave their place of origin. These would include better living conditions, job opportunities, enjoyment, better medical care, feeling of having religious or political freedom, education, attractive climates, and better chances of marrying, among others.

Push factors are the factors that could force the persons to move their place of origin. These would include few or not enough job opportunities, inadequate conditions, famine, political fear, poor medical care, desire for freedom, poor housing, condemned housing, war, death threats, and natural disasters, among others.

Photo by: pixabay