Laws of Migration

Ravenstein’s “Laws” of Migration
By: Carson Burick
Who is Ravenstein?
• Ernst Georg Ravenstein was a German-English
geographer cartographer.
• Lived from 30 December 1834 – 13 March
• Established a theory of human migration in
the 1880’s
• He called the list of these 11 rules the “Laws
of Migration”
“Laws of Migration”
• List of 11 “laws” for why people migrate
• Were published between 1876-1889
• Considered the implications of distance and
different types of migrant
• The laws can be organized into three groups:
the reasons why migrants move, the distance
they typically move, and their characteristics
Law #1
• The majority of migrants move only a short
distance in any one migration.
• In his time period, technology did not allow
for migrants to travel far.
Law #2
• Migration proceeds step-by-step.
• Migrants had to take multiply steps to migrate
to the area they desired.
Law #3
• Each current of migration produces a counter
• For every wave of migration, another wave is
produced from the first wave.
Law #4
• Females are more migratory than males
within the country of their birth, but males
more frequently venture beyond that country
• Women are more likely to migrate in the same
country there already live in, but men are
more likely to migrate outside of the country.
Law #5
• Most migrants are adults; families rarely
migrate out of their country of birth.
• It is hard for families with small children to
migrate far outside of their country.
Law #6
• Migrants moving long distances generally go
by preference to the great centers of
commerce or industry.
• Migrants that travel far want to make most of
their trip by going to well developed industrial
Law #7
• The natives of towns are less migratory than
those of rural areas.
• People living in towns/communities are less
migratory because they already live in a
community with a market and jobs and
Law #8
• Large towns grow more by migration than
birth rate.
• Large communities grow more because of
migration and not because of natural rate of
Law #9
• Migration increases as industries and
commerce develop and transport improves.
• It is easier for people to migrant with better
transportation and better commerce is a pull
factor for migrants.
Law #10
• The major direction of migration is from
agricultural to industrial or commercial
• Most migrants are moving from farm areas to
more developed cities and communities with
industry and a bigger market.
Law #11
• The major cause of migration is economic
• The biggest reason people migrate is because
of economic instability or wanting to get to a
more economic community with more
opportunities in industry or the market place.