Human migration involves the movement of people from one place to another with intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily, at a new location (geographic region). The movement often occurs over long distances and from one
country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

to another, but
internal migrationInternal migration or domestic migration is human migration within a country. Internal migration tends to be travel for education and for economic improvement or because of a natural disaster or civil disturbance. Cross-border migration often occurs ...
(within a single country) is also possible; indeed, this is the dominant form of human migration globally. Migration is often associated with better human capital at both individual and household level, and with better access to migration networks, facilitating a possible second move. Age is also important for both work and non-work migration. People may migrate as individuals, in
family unit In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinity (law), affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the w ...
s or in large groups. There are four major forms of migration:
invasion An invasion is a military offensive An offensive is a military operation A military operation is the coordinated military action War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or par ...
conquest Conquest is the act of military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, g ...

colonization Colonization, or colonisation refers to large-scale population movements where the migrants maintain strong links with their—or their ancestors'—former country, gaining significant privileges over other inhabitants of the territory by such l ...
emigration Emigration is the act of leaving a resident country or place of residence with the intent to settle elsewhere (to permanently leave a country). Conversely, immigration Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination ...
immigration Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective ident ...

. Persons moving from their home due to
forced displacement Forced displacement (also forced migration) is an involuntary or coerced movement of a person or people away from their home or home region. The UNHCR The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a United Nations System, UN ...
(such as a natural disaster or civil disturbance) may be described as displaced persons or, if remaining in the home country, internally-displaced persons. A person who seeks refuge in another country can, if the reason for leaving the home country is political, religious, or another form of persecution, make a formal application to that country where refuge is sought and is then usually described as an
asylum seeker An asylum seeker is a person who leaves their country of residence, enters another country and applies for asylum (i.e., international protection) in this other country. An asylum seeker is an immigrant Immigration is the international mo ...
. If this application is successful, this person's legal status becomes
refugee A refugee, generally speaking, is a displaced person Forced displacement (also forced migration) is an involuntary or coerced movement of a person or people away from their home or home region In geography, regions are areas that are broa ...

. In contemporary times, migration governance has become closely associated with state sovereignty. States retain the power of deciding on the entry and stay of non-nationals because migration directly affects some of the defining elements of a State.


Depending on the goal and reason for relocation, people who migrate can be divided into three categories: migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Each category is defined broadly as the mixed circumstances that motivate a person to change their location. As such, ''migrants'' are traditionally described as persons who change the country of their residence for general reasons and purposes. These purposes may include the search for better job opportunities or healthcare needs. This term is the most generally defined one as anyone changing their geographic location permanently can be considered a migrant. Contrastly, is not defined and described as persons who do not willingly relocate. The reasons for the refugees’ migration usually involve war actions within the country or other forms of oppression, coming either from the government or non-governmental sources. Refugees are usually associated with people who must unwillingly relocate as fast as possible; hence, such migrants will likely relocate undocumented.
Asylum seekers An asylum seeker is a person who leaves their country of residence, enters another country and applies for right of asylum, asylum (i.e., international protection) in this other country. An asylum seeker is an Immigration, immigrant who has been ...
are associated with persons who also leave their country unwillingly, yet, who also do not do so under oppressing circumstances such as war or death threats. The motivation to leave the country for asylum seekers might involve an unstable economic or political situation or high rates of crime. Thus, asylum seekers relocate predominantly to escape the degradation of the .
Nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo ...

ic movements usually are not regarded as migrations, as the movement is generally
seasonal A season is a division of the year based on changes in weather, ecology, and the number of daylight hours in a given region. On Earth, seasons are the result of Earth's orbit around the Sun and Earth's axial tilt relative to the ecliptic plane. In ...
, there is no intention to settle in the new place, and only a few people have retained this form of lifestyle in modern times. Temporary movement for travel, tourism, pilgrimages, or the commute is also not regarded as migration, in the absence of an intention to live and settle in the visited places.

Migration patterns and related numbers

There exist many statistical estimates of worldwide migration patterns. The
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
has published three editions of its ''Migration and Remittances Factbook'', beginning in 2008, with a second edition appearing in 2011 and a third in 2016. The
International Organisation for Migration The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member sta ...
(IOM) has published ten editions of the ''
World Migration ReportThe flagship publication series of the International Organization for Migration The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) or international organization is an o ...
'' since 1999. The
United Nations Statistics Division The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), formerly the United Nations Statistical Office, serves under the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) as the central mechanism within the Secretariat of the United Nations t ...
also keeps a database on worldwide migration. Recent advances in research on migration via the Internet promise better understanding of migration patterns and migration motives. Structurally, there is substantial South-South and North-North migration; in 2013, 38% of all migrants had migrated from developing countries to other developing countries, while 23% had migrated from high-income
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

countries to other high-income countries. The
United Nations Population Fund The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, is a UN agency aimed at improving reproductive and maternal health worldwide. Its work includes developing national healthcare strategies ...
says that "while the North has experienced a higher absolute increase in the migrant stock since 2000 (32 million) compared to the South (25 million), the South recorded a higher growth rate. Between 2000 and 2013, the average annual rate of change of the migrant population in developing regions (2.3%) slightly exceeded that of the developed regions (2.1%)." Substantial internal migration can also take place within a country, either
seasonal human migration Seasonal animal migration Animal migration is the relatively long-distance movement of individual animals, usually on a seasonal basis. It is the most common form of Migration (ecology), migration in ecology. It is found in all major animal gr ...
(mainly related to agriculture and tourism to urban places), or shifts of the population into cities (
urbanisation Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from Rural area, rural to urban areas, the corresponding decrease in the proportion of people living in rural areas, and the ways in which societies adapt to this change. It is predom ...
) or out of cities (
suburbanisation Suburbanization is a population shift from central urban area An urban area, or built-up area, is a human settlement with a high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and ...
). However, studies of worldwide migration patterns tend to limit their scope to
international migration International migration occurs when people cross state boundaries and stay in the host state for some minimum length of time. Migration occurs for many reasons. Many people leave their home countries in order to look for economic opportunities in a ...
. Almost half of these migrants are women, one of the most significant migrant-pattern changes in the last half-century. Women migrate alone or with their family members and community. Even though female migration is largely viewed as an association rather than independent migration, emerging studies argue complex and manifold reasons for this. As of 2019, the top ten were: *
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Saudi Arabia (''Shahada'') , national_anthem = "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia, " "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saudi Arabia (orthographic projection).svg , capital = Riyadh , coordinates ...

Saudi Arabia
Russian Federation Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russian Federation
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, الإمارات العربية المتحدة ) or the Emirates ( ar, الإمارات ), is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregio ...

United Arab Emirates
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

In the same year, the top countries of origin were:IOM.
Migration and migrants: A global overview
" Ch. 2 in ''World Migration Report 2020''.
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

Russian Federation Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russian Federation
Syrian Arab Republic Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...
Bangladesh Bangladesh (, bn, বাংলাদেশ, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-c ...

Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of t ...

Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is t ...

Besides these rankings, according to absolute numbers of migrants, the ''Migration and Remittances Factbook'' also gives statistics for top immigration destination countries and top emigration origin countries according to percentage of the population; the countries that appear at the top of those rankings are entirely different than the ones in the above rankings and tend to be much smaller countries.''Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016'' As of 2013, the top 15 migration corridors (accounting for at least 2 million migrants each) were: # # # Bangladesh–India # Ukraine–Russian Federation # Kazakhstan–Russian Federation # China–United States # Russian Federation–Kazakhstan # Afghanistan–Pakistan # Afghanistan–Iran # China–Hong Kong # India–United Arab Emirates # West Bank and Gaza–Jordan # India–United States # India–Saudi Arabia # Philippines–United States

Economic impacts of human migration

World economy

The impacts of human migration on the
world economy The world economy or the global economy is the economy of all humans of the world, referring to the global economic system which includes all economic activities which are conducted both within and between nations, including production (economics ...
has been largely positive. In 2015, migrants, who constituted 3.3% of the
world population In demography, demographics, the world population is the total number of humans currently living, and was estimated to have exceeded 7.9 billion people . It took over 2 million years of prehistory, human prehistory and human history, history fo ...

world population
, contributed 9.4% of global GDP. According to the Centre for Global Development, opening all borders could add $78 trillion to the
world GDP The world economy or the global economy is the economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outl ...


Remittance A remittance is a non-commercial transfer of money by a foreign worker, a member of a diaspora A diaspora () is a scattered population whose origin lies in a separate geographic locale. Historically, the word diaspora was used to refer t ...
s (funds transferred by migrant workers to their home country) form a substantial part of the economy of some countries. The top ten remittance recipients in 2018. In addition to economic impacts, migrants also make substantial contributions in sociocultural and civic-political life. Sociocultural contributions occur in the following areas of societies: food/cuisine, sport, music, art/culture, ideas and beliefs; civic-political contributions relate to participation in civic duties in the context of accepted authority of the State. It is in recognition of the importance of these remittances that the United Nations
Sustainable Development Goal 10 Sustainable Development Goal 10 (Goal 10 or SDG 10) is about reduced inequality and is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals design ...

Sustainable Development Goal 10
targets to substantially reduce the transaction costs of migrants remittances to less than 3% by 2030.

Voluntary and forced migration

Migration is usually divided into ''voluntary migration'' and ''forced migration''. The distinction between ''involuntary'' (fleeing political conflict or natural disaster) and ''voluntary migration'' (economic or
labour migration A migrant worker is a person who either Human migration, migrates within their home country or outside it to pursue work. Migrant workers usually do not have the intention to stay permanently in the country or region in which they work. Migran ...
) is difficult to make and partially subjective, as the motivators for migration are often correlated. The
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
estimated that, as of 2010, 16.3 million or 7.6% of migrants qualified as refugees. This number grew to 19.5 million by 2014 (comprising approximately 7.9% of the total number of migrants, based on the figure recorded in 2013). As noted on p. xiii, the report presents migrant stocks for 2013, refugee numbers for 2014, remittance outflows for 2014, and remittance inflows for 2015. At levels of roughly 3 percent the share of migrants among the world population has remained remarkably constant over the last 5 decades.

Voluntary migration

Voluntary migration is based on the initiative and the free will of the person and is influenced by a combination of factors: economic, political and social: either in the migrants` country of origin (determinant factors or "push factors") or in the country of destination (attraction factors or "pull factors"). "Push-pull factors" are the reasons that push or attract people to a particular place. "Push" factors are the negative aspects of the country of origin, often decisive in people's choice to emigrate. The "pull" factors are the positive aspects of a different country that encourages people to emigrate to seek a better life. For example, the government of
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

periodically gives incentives to people who will migrate to live in villages close to the border with Azerbaijan. This is an implementation of a push strategy, and the reason people don't want to live near the border is security concerns given tensions and hostility because of Azerbaijan. Although the push-pull factors are opposed, both are sides of the same coin, being equally important. Although specific to forced migration, any other harmful factor can be considered a "push factor" or determinant/trigger factor, such examples being: poor quality of life, lack of jobs, excessive pollution, hunger, drought or natural disasters. Such conditions represent decisive reasons for voluntary migration, the population preferring to migrate in order to prevent financially unfavorable situations or even emotional and physical suffering. 

Forced migration

There exist contested definitions of forced migration. However, the editors of a leading scientific journal on the subject, the '' Forced Migration Review'', offer the following definition: Forced migration refers to the movements of refugees and internally displaced people (displaced by conflict) as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine, or development projects. These different causes of migration leave people with one choice, to move to a new environment. Immigrants leave their beloved homes to seek a life in camps, spontaneous settlement, and countries of asylum. By the end of 2018, there were an estimated 67.2 million forced migrants globally—25.9 million refugees displaced from their countries, and 41.3 million internally displaced persons that had been displaced within their countries for different reasons.

Contemporary labor migration theories


Numerous causes impel migrants to move to another country. For instance,
globalization Globalization, or globalisation (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a of the , originally spoken by the inhabitants of . It is named after the , one of the ancient that migrated from , a peninsu ...

has increased the demand for workers in order to sustain national economies. Thus one category of
economic migrant An economic migrant is someone who emigrates from one region to another, including crossing international borders, seeking an improved standard of living, because the conditions or job opportunities in the migrant's own region are insufficient. The ...
s - generally from impoverished developing countries - migrates to obtain sufficient income for survival. Such migrants often send some of their income homes to family members in the form of economic remittances, which have become an economic staple in a number of developing countries. People may also move or are forced to move as a result of conflict, of human-rights violations, of violence, or to escape persecution. In 2013 it was estimated that around 51.2 million people fell into this category. Other reasons people may move include to gain access to opportunities and services or to escape extreme weather. This type of movement, usually from rural to urban areas, may be classed as
internal migrationInternal migration or domestic migration is human migration within a country. Internal migration tends to be travel for education and for economic improvement or because of a natural disaster or civil disturbance. Cross-border migration often occurs ...
. Sociology-cultural and ego-historical factors also play a major role. In North Africa, for example, emigrating to Europe counts as a sign of social prestige. Moreover, many countries were former
colonies In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the metropole, metropolitan ...

. This means that many have relatives who live legally in the (former) colonial and who often provide important help for immigrants arriving in that metropole. Relatives may help with job research and with accommodation. The geographical proximity of Africa to Europe and the long historical ties between Northern and Southern Mediterranean countries also prompt many to migrate. Whether a person decides to move to another country depends on the relative skill premier of the source and host countries. One is speaking of
positive selection upThree types of selection In population genetics, directional selection, or positive selection is a mode of natural selection Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in pheno ...
when the host country shows a higher skill premium than the source country. On the other hand, negative selection occurs when the source country displays a lower skill premium. The relative skill premia define migrants selectivity.
Age heapingWhipple's index (or index of concentration), invented by American demographer George Chandler Whipple (1866–1924), is a method to measure the tendency for individuals to inaccurately report their actual age or date of birth. Respondents to a censu ...
techniques display one method to measure the relative skill premium of a country. A number of theories attempt to explain the international flow of capital and people from one country to another. Jennissen, R. 2007. "Causality Chains in the International Migration Systems Approach." '' Population Research and Policy Review'' 26(4):411–36.

Contemporary research contributions in the field of migration

Recent academic output on migration comprises mainly journal articles. The long-term trend shows a gradual increase in academic publishing on migration, which is likely to be related to the general expansion of academic literature production, and the increased prominence of migration research. Migration and its research have further changed with the revolution in information and communication technologies.

Neoclassical economic theory

This migration theory states that the main reason for labour migration is wage difference between two geographic locations. These wage differences are usually linked to geographic labour demand and supply. It can be said that areas with a shortage of labour but an excess of capital have a high relative wage while areas with a high labour supply and a dearth of capital have a low relative wage. Labour tends to flow from low-wage areas to high-wage areas. Often, with this flow of labour comes changes in the sending and the receiving country. Neoclassical economic theory best describes transnational migration because it is not confined by international immigration laws and similar governmental regulations.

Dual labor market theory

Dual labour market theory states that pull factors in more developed countries mainly cause migration. This theory assumes that the labour markets in these developed countries consist of two segments: the primary market, which requires high-skilled labour, and the secondary market, which is very labour-intensive, requiring low-skilled workers. This theory assumes that migration from less developed countries into more developed countries results from a pull created by a need for labour in the developed countries in their secondary market.
Migrant worker A migrant worker is a person who migrates within a home country or outside it to pursue work. Migrant workers usually do not have the intention to stay permanently in the country or region in which they work. Migrant workers who work outside ...

Migrant worker
s are needed to fill the lowest rung of the labour market because the native labourers do not want to do these jobs as they present a lack of mobility. This creates a need for migrant workers. Furthermore, the initial dearth in available labour pushes wages up, making migration even more enticing.

New economics of labor migration

This theory states that migration flows and patterns can't be explained solely at the level of individual workers and their economic incentives but that wider social entities must also be considered. One such social entity is the household. Migration can be viewed as a result of risk aversion from a household that has insufficient income. In this case, the household needs extra capital that can be achieved through remittances sent back by family members who participate in migrant labour abroad. These
remittances A remittance is a non-commercial Wire transfer, transfer of money by a Migrant worker, foreign worker, a member of a diaspora community, or a Citizenship, citizen with familial ties abroad, for household income in their home country or homeland. ...
can also have a broader effect on the economy of the sending country as a whole as they bring in capital. Recent research has examined a decline in US interstate migration from 1991 to 2011, theorising that the reduced interstate migration is due to a decline in the geographic specificity of occupations and an increase in workers’ ability to learn about other locations before moving there, through both information technology and inexpensive travel. Other researchers find that the location-specific nature of housing is more important than moving costs in determining labour reallocation.

Relative deprivation theory

Relative deprivation theory states that awareness of the income difference between neighbours or other households in the migrant-sending community is essential in migration. The incentive to migrate is a lot higher in areas with a high level of economic inequality. In the short run, remittances may increase inequality, but in the long run, they may decrease it. There are two stages of migration for workers: first, they invest in human capital formation, and then they try to capitalise on their investments. In this way, successful migrants may use their new capital to provide better schooling for their children and better homes for their families. Successful high-skilled emigrants may serve as an example for neighbours and potential migrants who hope to achieve that level of success.

World systems theory

World-systems theory World-systems theory (also known as world-systems analysis or the world-systems perspective)Immanuel Wallerstein, (2004), "World-systems Analysis." In ''World System History'', ed. George Modelski, in ''Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems'' (EOLSS ...
looks at migration from a global perspective. It explains that interaction between different societies can be an important factor in social change. Trade with one country, which causes an economic decline in another, may create incentive to migrate to a country with a more vibrant economy. It can be argued that even after decolonisation, the economic dependence of former colonies remains on mother countries. However, this view of
international trade International trade is the exchange of capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscul ...
is controversial, and some argue that free trade can reduce migration between developing and developed countries. It can be argued that the developed countries import labour-intensive goods, which causes an increase in the employment of unskilled workers in the less developed countries, decreasing the outflow of migrant workers. Exporting capital-intensive goods from rich countries to developing countries also equalises income and employment conditions, thus slowing migration. In either direction, this theory can be used to explain migration between countries that are geographically far apart.

Osmosis theory

Based on the history of human migration, Djelti (2017a) studies the evolution of its natural determinants. According to him, human migration is divided into two main types: simple and complicated. The simple migration is divided, in its turn, into diffusion, stabilisation and concentration periods. During these periods, water availability, adequate climate, security and population density represent the natural determinants of human migration. The complicated migration is characterised by the speedy evolution and the emergence of new sub-determinants, notably earning, unemployment, networks, and migration policies. Osmosis theory (Djelti, 2017b) explains analogically human migration by the biophysical phenomenon of
osmosis Osmosis (, ) is the spontaneous net movement or diffusion Diffusion is the net movement of anything (for example, atoms, ions, molecules, energy) generally from a region of higher concentration In chemistry Chemistry is the ...

. In this respect, the countries are represented by
animal cells The cell (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...
, the borders by the semipermeable membranes and the humans by
ions An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are u ...

of water. According to the theory, according to the osmosis phenomenon, humans migrate from countries with less migration pressure to countries with high migration pressure. To measure the latter, the natural determinants of human migration replace the variables of the second principle of thermodynamics used to measure the
osmotic pressure Osmotic pressure is the minimum pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force In physics, a force is an influence that can change the motion (physics), motion of an Physical object, object. A force can cause an object with ...

osmotic pressure

Social-scientific theories


A number of social scientists have examined immigration from a
sociological Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerl ...
perspective, paying particular attention to how immigration affects and is affected by, matters of
race Race, RACE or "The Race" may refer to: * Race (biology), an informal taxonomic classification within a species, generally within a sub-species * Race (human categorization), classification of humans into groups based on physical traits, and/or s ...
ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of persons considered as a whole. Used in politics and law it is a term to refer to the collective or community of an ethnic group, a nation, to the public or ...
, as well as
social structure In the social sciences Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of pla ...
. They have produced three main sociological perspectives: *
symbolic interactionism Symbolic interactionism is a sociological Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals ...
, which aims to understand migration via face-to-face interactions on a micro-level *
social conflict theory Social conflict theory is a Marxist Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand Social class, class relations and social ...
, which examines migration through the prism of competition for
power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one joule per second. In older works, p ...
resource Resource refers to all the materials available in our environment which help us to satisfy our needs and wants. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability — they are classified into renewable A renewable resource, also know ...

s * structural functionalism (based on the ideas of Émile Durkheim), which examines the role of migration in fulfilling certain functions within each society, such as the decrease of Anomie, despair and aimlessness and the consolidation of social networks More recently, as attention has shifted away from countries of destination, sociologists have attempted to understand how transnationalism allows us to understand the interplay between migrants, their countries of destination, and their countries of origins. In this framework, work on social remittances by Peggy Levitt and others has led to a stronger conceptualisation of how migrants affect socio-political processes in their countries of origin. Much work also takes place in the field of Social integration, integration of migrants into destination-societies.

Political science

Political scientists have put forth a number of theoretical frameworks relating to migration, offering different perspectives on processes of International security, security, citizenship, and international relations. The political importance of diasporas has also become a growing field of interest, as scholars examine questions of diaspora activism, state-diaspora relations, out-of-country voting processes, and states' soft power strategies. In this field, the majority of work has focused on immigration politics, viewing migration from the perspective of the country of destination. With regard to
emigration Emigration is the act of leaving a resident country or place of residence with the intent to settle elsewhere (to permanently leave a country). Conversely, immigration Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination ...
processes, political scientists have expanded on Albert O. Hirschman, Albert Hirschman's framework on '"voice" vs. "exit" to discuss how emigration affects the politics within countries of origin.

Notable institutions

* University of Oxford * London School of Economics * University of Copenhagen * University of Amsterdam * City University of New York, City University New York * Balsillie School of International Affairs

Historical theories


Certain laws of social sciences, social science have been proposed to describe human migration. The following was a standard list after Ernst Georg Ravenstein's proposal in the 1880s: # every migration flow generates a return or counter migration. # the majority of migrants move a short distance. # migrants who move longer distances tend to choose big-city destinations. # urban residents are often less migratory than inhabitants of rural areas. # families are less likely to make international moves than young adults. # most migrants are adults. # large towns grow by migration rather than natural increase. # migration stage by stage (step migration). # urban, rural difference. # migration and technology. # economic condition.


Lee's laws divide factors causing migrations into two groups of factors: push and pull factors. Push factors are things that are unfavourable about the area that one lives in, and pull factors are things that attract one to another area. Push factors: *Not enough jobs *Few opportunities *Inadequate conditions *Desertification *Famine or drought *Political fear of persecution *Slavery or forced labour *Poor medical care *Loss of wealth *Natural disasters *Death threats *Desire for more political or religious freedom *Pollution *Poor housing *Landlord/tenant issues *Bullying *Mentality *Discrimination *Poor chances of marrying *Condemned housing (radon gas, etc.) *War *Radiation *Disease Pull factors: *Job opportunities *Better living conditions *The feeling of having more political or religious freedom *Enjoyment *Education *Better medical care *Attractive climates *Security *Family links *Industry *Better chances of marrying

Climate cycles

The modern field of climate history suggests that the successive waves of Eurasian nomadic movement throughout history have had their origins in Climate change (general concept), climatic cycles, which have expanded or contracted pastureland in Central Asia, especially Mongolia and to its west the Altai mountains, Altai. People were displaced from their home ground by other tribes trying to find land that essential flocks could graze, each group pushing the next further to the south and west, into the highlands of Anatolia, the Pannonian Plain, into Mesopotamia, or southwards, into the rich pastures of China. Bogumil Terminski uses the term "migratory domino effect" to describe this process in the context of Sea People invasion.

Food, sex, security

The theory is that migration occurs because individuals search for food, sex and security outside their usual habitation; Idyorough (2008) believes that towns and cities are a creation of the human struggle to obtain food, sex and security. To produce food, security and reproduction, human beings must, out of necessity, move out of their usual habitation and enter into indispensable social relationships that are cooperative or antagonistic. Human beings also develop the tools and equipment to interact with nature to produce the desired food and security. The improved relationship (cooperative relationships) among human beings and improved technology further conditioned by the push and pull factors all interact together to cause or bring about migration and higher concentration of individuals into towns and cities. The higher the technology of production of food and security and the higher the cooperative relationship among human beings in the production of food and security and the reproduction of the human species, the higher would be the push and pull factors in the migration and concentration of human beings in towns and cities. Countryside, towns and cities do not just exist, but they do so to meet the basic human needs of food, security and the reproduction of the human species. Therefore, migration occurs because individuals search for food, sex and security outside their usual habitation. Social services in the towns and cities are provided to meet these basic needs for human survival and pleasure.

Other models

* Zipf's law, Zipf's inverse distance law (1956) * Gravity model of migration and the friction of distance * Radiation law for human mobility * Buffer theory * Stouffer's theory of intervening opportunities (1940) * Zelinsky Model, Zelinsky's Mobility Transition Model (1971) * Bauder's regulation of labour economics, labour markets (2006): "suggests that the international migration of workers is necessary for the survival of industrialised economies...[It] turns the conventional view of international migration on its head: it investigates how migration regulates labour markets, rather than labour markets shaping migration flows."

Migration governance

By their very nature, international migration and displacement are transnational issues concerning the origin and destination States and States through which migrants may travel (often referred to as “transit” States) or in which they are hosted following displacement across national borders. And yet, somewhat paradoxically, the majority of migration governance has historically remained with individual states. Their policies and regulations on migration are typically made at the national level. For the most part, migration governance has been closely associated with State sovereignty. States retain the power of deciding on the entry and stay of non-nationals because migration directly affects some of the defining elements of a State. Bilateral and multilateral arrangements are features of migration governance. There are several global arrangements in the form of international treaties in which States have reached an agreement on the application of human rights and the related responsibilities of States in specific areas. The 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention) are two significant examples notable for being widely ratified. Other migration conventions have not been so broadly accepted, such as the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which still has no traditional countries of destination among its States parties. Beyond this, there have been numerous multilateral and global initiatives, dialogues and processes on migration over several decades. The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Global Compact for Migration) is another milestone, as the first internationally negotiated statement of objectives for migration governance striking a balance between migrants’ rights and the principle of States’ sovereignty over their territory. Although it is not legally binding, the Global Compact for Migration was adopted by consensus in December 2018 at a United Nations conference in which more than 150 United Nations Member States participated and, later that same month, in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), by a vote among the Member States of 152 to 5 (with 12 abstentions).IOM. 'Chapter 11: Recent developments in the global governance of migration: An update to the World Migration Report 2018.' World Migration Report 2020. p. 291. https://www.iom.int/wmr/2020/chapter/11

See also

* Colonization * Demographics of the world * Diaspora * Early human migrations * Environmental migrant * Existential migration * Expatriate * Feminisation of migration * Genographic Project * Geographic mobility * Globalization * Humanitarian crisis * Illegal immigration * ''Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time'' * Immigration to Europe * List of diasporas ** Jewish diaspora * Migrant literature * Migration in China * Most recent common ancestor * Offshoring * People flow * Political demography * Queer migration * Refugee roulette * Religion and human migration * Replacement migration * Separation barrier * Settler colonialism * Snowbird (person) * Space colonization * Timeline of maritime migration and exploration




* Anderson, Vivienne. and Johnson, Henry. (eds
Migration, Education and Translation: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Human Mobility and Cultural Encounters in Education Settings
New York: Routledge, 2020. * Bauder, Harald. ''Labour Movement: How Migration Regulates Labour Markets'', New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. * Behdad, Ali. ''A Forgetful Nation: On Immigration and Cultural Density in the United States'', Duke UP, 2005. * Chaichian, Mohammad. ''Empires and Walls: Globalisation, Migration, and Colonial Control'', Leiden: Brill, 2014. * Jared Diamond, ''Guns, Germs, and Steel, Guns, germs and steel. A short history of everybody for the last 13'000 years'', 1997. * Miguel A. De La Torre, De La Torre, Miguel A., ''Trails of Terror: Testimonies on the Current Immigration Debate'', Orbis Books, 2009. * Fell, Peter and Hayes, Debra. ''What are they doing here? A critical guide to asylum and immigration'', Birmingham (UK): Venture Press, 2007. * Hanlon, Bernadette and Vicino, Thomas J. ''Global Migration: The Basics'', New York and London: Routledge, 2014. * Hoerder, Dirk. ''Cultures in Contact. World Migrations in the Second Millennium'', Duke University Press, 2002 * Idyorough, Alamveabee E. "Sociological Analysis of Social Change in Contemporary Africa", Makurdi: Aboki Publishers, 2015. * Kleiner-Liebau, Désirée. ''Migration and the Construction of National Identity in Spain'', Madrid / Frankfurt, Iberoamericana / Vervuert, Ediciones de Iberoamericana, 2009. . * Knörr, Jacqueline. ''Women and Migration. Anthropological Perspectives'', Frankfurt & New York: Campus Verlag & St. Martin's Press, 2000. * Knörr, Jacqueline. ''Childhood and Migration. From Experience to Agency'', Bielefeld: Transcript, 2005. * Manning, Patrick. ''Migration in World History'', New York and London: Routledge, 2005. * ''Migration for Employment'', Paris: OECD Publications, 2004. * ''OECD International Migration Outlook 2007'', Paris: OECD Publications, 2007. * Pécoud, Antoine and Paul de Guchteneire (Eds): ''Migration without Borders, Essays on the Free Movement of People '' (Berghahn Books, 2007) * Abdelmalek Sayad. ''The Suffering of the Immigrant'', Preface by Pierre Bourdieu, Polity Press, 2004. * Stalker, Peter. ''No-Nonsense Guide to International Migration'', New Internationalist, second edition, 2008. * ''The Philosophy of Evolution'' (A.K. Purohit, ed.), Yash Publishing House, Bikaner, 2010. .


* ''International Migration Review'' * ''Migration Letters'' *
International Migration
' * ''Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies'' * ''Review of Economics of the Household''


International Organization for Migration's World Migration Report 2020
' *

' (subscription service) *
Migration Policy Centre


* ''El Inmigrante'', Directors: David Eckenrode, John Sheedy, John Eckenrode. 2005. 90 min. (U.S./Mexico)

Further reading

*IOM World Migration Report, see http://www.iom.int/wmr/ * *Miller, Mark & Castles, Stephen (1993). ''The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World.'' Guilford Press''.'' *White, Micheal (Ed.) (2016). ''International Handbook of Migration and Population Distribution''. Springer.

External links

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article

iom.int International Organisation for Migration

up-to-date statistics on net immigration by country
Western Sahara and Migration

Migration with special reference to Sahul and Austronesia

Stalker's Guide to International Migration
a comprehensive interactive guide to modern migration issues, with maps and statistics
Integration: Building Inclusive Societies (IBIS)
a UN Alliance of Civilisations online community on good practices of integration of migrants across the world
Migrations in history

Mass migration as a travel business

provides background and statistics on human migration.
Return migration between 1850 and 1950 by Dr. Sarah Oberbichler
Newseye projet (https://newseye.eu) {{DEFAULTSORT:Human Migration Human migration, Anthropology Demographic economics Demography Genetic genealogy Human overpopulation, Migration