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Types Of Migration A-Level Geography Essay

Why do people migrate?

People migrate for many different reasons. These reasons can be classified as economic, 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
  • drought
  • flooding
  • poverty
  • war

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

Back to Migration index

Cause and effects of migration

Migration is the movement of people from one permanent home to another. This movement changes the population of a place. International migration is the movement from one country to another.

People who leave their country are said to emigrate [emigration: The process whereby a person moves out of one country to live in another.] . People who move into another country are called immigrants [immigrant: A person who enters a country from another one.] . The movement of people into a country is known as immigration [immigration: The process of moving into a country.] .

Every year some people leave the UK and move abroad. At the same time some people will move into the UK. Immigrants add to the total population and emigrants are subtracted from the total.

Sometimes people just move from one region to another within the same country. In many developing countries, large numbers of people have moved from the countryside to the cities in recent years. This is called rural to urban migration [rural to urban migration: The movement of people from rural to urban areas.] .

Why do people migrate?

Sometimes people have a choice about whether they move, but sometimes they are forced to move. The reasons people leave a place are called the push factors [push factor: Factors that encourage people to leave the place in which they live and to move elsewhere. ] . The reasons people are attracted to new places to live are called the pull factors [pull factor: Factors which attract people to move to a new place. ] .

Advantages and disadvantages of migration

Migration can bring advantages and disadvantages to the country which is losing people and also to the host country [host country: A country which contains people or organisations from other countries.] .

Country losing people:



Money sent home by migrants.

People of working age move out reducing the size of the country's potential workforce.

Decreases pressure on jobs and resources.

Gender imbalances are caused as it is typically men who seek to find employment elsewhere. Women and children are left.

Migrants may return with new skills.

'Brain drain' if many skilled workers leave.

Host country:



A richer and more diverse [diverse: Different, varied or wide ranging.]  culture.

Increasing cost of services such as health care and education.

Helps to reduce any labour shortages.


Migrants are more prepared to take on low paid, low skilled jobs.

Disagreements between different religions and cultures.

In addition, there are a number of obstacles that the migrant may need to overcome, including:

  • unemployment [unemployment: Being without a job or source of income.]  in new country

  • racism [racism: The belief that the race of a person justifies different (often unfair) treatments of them.]  and cultural differences

  • language barriers

  • lack of opportunities

UK migration

Migrants come to the UK from a variety of countries. People from the UK also emigrate [emigration: The process whereby a person moves out of one country to live in another.]  to countries around the world. Immigration is not new and the UK has been a multicultural society for thousands of years. Many people in the UK are descended from previous settlers and invaders such as the Romans, Vikings, Saxons and Normans.

Recent migrants include people from other European countries such as Poland. Any European Union [European Union : A group of European Countries initially formed to remove trade barriers and reduce potential for war within Europe.]  resident is usually free to work in other European Union countries, except for Bulgaria and Romania, where there are restrictions on free movement of workers. This freedom of movement has encouraged migration.

Another type of migrant is an asylum seeker [asylum seeker: Someone who leaves their own country for fears over their safety. They hope that the government in another country will protect them.] , someone who has been forced to leave their own country because they are in danger, eg fleeing as a result of their religious beliefs or the danger of war.

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