Ch.3 Key Issue 1
Why Do People Migrate?
What is Migration?
• A type of mobility/movement that
involves leaving home
– Cyclic movement (commuting/seasonal
movement- “Snow Birds”)
– Periodic movement (migrant labor,
attending college)
– Migration
• Immigration (In)
• Emigration (Out)
• Movement resulting in permanent
• Results in relocation diffusion
• Multiple types:
–International (transnational)
• Interregional
• Intraregional
• 11 “laws” makes up Geography’s
study of migration
• 3 main categories
–Why immigrants move
–Distance they typically move
Main Laws of Ravenstein
1. Majority of migrants move a short distance
2. Longer traveling migrants mostly choose bigcity destinations
3. Urbanites are less likely to migrate than rural
4. Families are less likely to make international
moves than young adults
Ravenstein (see Kuby activity)
• Gravity model
– Interaction is based on population and
distance• Likely to travel further if destination is a
large populated city (Law #3)
• Distance decay
– Number of migrants decreases as the
distance they have to travel increases
(inverse relationship)
– Affects pull factors- is it really worth it?
Reasons for Migrating
• Migration is either forced or voluntary
– Not always a clear distinction
• Potato famine in Ireland (forced) but Irish
chose to go to US (voluntary)
– Push/pull factors with voluntary migration ONLY
• Who chooses if a family/household migrates
– Gendered power relationships and family
– Men are more mobile, migrate farther than
• Men have more choices/chances of work
Reasons for Migrating
• Forced migration- involuntary movement
– Atlantic slave trade
• Transmitted culture (i.e. relocation diffusion):
Caribbean, Brazil
– Britain shipping convicts to Australia
– “Trail of Tears” and other uprooting of Native
Americans, forcing onto reservations
– Jews during the Holocaust
– Countermigration- returning illegal immigrants to
home country
– Refugees
Reasons for migrating voluntarily
There are reasons why people move from
a country (source) to another
(destination) voluntarily
Push and Pull factors:
1. Economic
2. Cultural
3. Environmental
Push vs Pull
• Migrants will perceive push factors
more clearly since it is the conditions in
which they are experiencing
• Pull factors can be misinterpreted since
they are based on things heard, read or
believed to be true about a destination
country rather than experiences
Economic push/pull
–Most people migrate for
economic reasons
–Push and pull factors
• Economic: people move away
(pushed) from places with
poor economic opportunities
and (pulled) toward places
with better ones
Economic Conditions – Migrants will often risk their
lives in hopes of economic opportunities that will enable
them to send money home (remittances) to their family
members who remain behind.
Cultural push/pull
• Cultural factors
–Forced migration (e.g., slavery,
–Political factors (democracies vs.
• Communist governments and dictatorsVietnam, Uganda, Cuba (“Mariel Boatlift”)
Forced Migration – the Atlantic Slave Trade
Environmental Conditions
• Potato famine in Ireland
• Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans
• If event is bad enough, return might
be impossible
–Montserrat Volcano- 10,000 to 3,000.
Environmental Conditions –
In Montserrat, a 1995 volcano made the southern half of the
island, including the capital city of Plymouth, uninhabitable.
People who remained migrated to the north or to the U.S.
***Other Push/pull factors
• Armed conflict and War
– Yugoslavia conflicts, Rwanda, Sudan
• Threatening culture and traditions
– Partition of India into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan
– Whites leaving South Africa after apartheid ended
• Technological Advances spur migration
– Transportation instead of walking, fast news about
far places
– Kinship links- communication between relatives
– Chain migration- migrating to where your family is
– Immigration waves- multiple chains of migration
Step Migration
• Migration appears on maps as a long
flow, but is really a series of stages
• Move from village/small town, to town, to
city then to a metropolis
• Migrants face new set of pull factors at
each “step”
• Most face an intervening opportunity
along the way
Intervening Opportunity
• At one of the steps toward the
destination, pull factors encourage the
migrant to settle at a particular place.
• EX: During the Great Migration of
African Americans north to find work
after WWI, many found work along the
way in St. Louis—never made it
destinations of Chicago and Cleveland
Intervening Obstacles
• Historically these have been
environmental (mnt., ocean, etc.)
– Improved transportation methods have
• Now, local diversity in gov’ts are
intervening obstacles.
– Quotas
– Strict immigration laws
– Walls/barriers
Distance of Migration
• Internal migration
–Most immigration is internal
–Interregional migration = movement
from one region to another
–Intraregional migration = movement
within a region
Distance of Migration
• International Migration
– Voluntary
– Forced
• International migrants leave stage 2 countries
of the dem. tran. for stage 3 and 4 countries;
• Internal migration is more important for
countries in stages 3 and 4 (cities to suburbs).
Voluntary Migration – Migrants weigh push and
pull factors to decide first, to emigrate from the home
country and second, where to go.
Decay weighs
into the decision
to migrate,
leading many
migrants to
move less far
than they
(steps within the
Global Migration Patterns
Characteristics of Migrants
–Most long-distance migrants are
• Male
• Adults
• Individuals
–Families with children = less likely to
migrate long distances
Characteristics of Migrants
– Gender
• Traditionally, males outnumbered
• In the United States today, just over
half of immigrants are female
– Family status
• In the United States today, most
immigrants are young adults, aged
25–39 (working age!)
***Important to remember
• Whenever people migrate, the cultural
landscape of both the source country
and the destination are changed.
– People take their culture with them to
their new place (relocation diffusion)
• We’ve talked about some changes
already but keep your eyes open for
more examples in the rest of this