Types of human migration

Human migration is one of the oldest civilization processes, man has been moving from one place to another since the dawn of time. The reasons for migration vary greatly, but the overall purpose of the process is for people to move and settle in a better geographic location. The official definition, so to speak, of human migration is the permanent change of residence of an individual or group . However, migration does not cover movements such as nomadism, migrant labor and tourism, which are only of a temporary or transitory nature. Migration should not be confused with immigration or emigration, which are two clearly different processes. Read on to learn about the types of human migration that exist.

TypesDefinition
Internal migrationIt is the movement of people from one region of a sovereign country to another.
External migrationIt is the movement of people and families from one country to another. It can be regional, continental and transcontinental
Seasonal migrationIt is the movement of people from one area to another with each season in search of better conditions.
Voluntary migrationIt is the movement of people of their own free will, in search of better economic and housing opportunities.
Forced migrationExpulsion of people by the government during the state of war or other political upheaval.

Types of human migration

There are many factors that help classify human migration into different types or categories. Some scientists divide migration into more subcategories, based on specific factors. Others prefer to keep explanations of migration as simple as possible. So what types of migration are there? :

  • Internal migration: it is the movement of people from one region of a sovereign country to another, for example, migration from the countryside to the city. Internal migration is totally different from external migration.
  • External migration: it is the movement of people and families from one country to another. Migration abroad can be regional, where people move to a nearby country, or continental and transcontinental, where people travel long distances to settle on another continent.
  • Seasonal migration : Seasonal migration is the movement of people from one area to another with each season in search of better conditions for themselves and their livestock. This type of movement is typically carried out by nomadic farmers found mainly in the sub-Saharan regions of Africa. Herding communities located in Kenya, for example, include the Samburu and Turkana who move from one area to another in search of pasture for their livestock far from their homes. Once conditions improve, they usually return.

There are also two other types of human migration known as voluntary and forced migration. Their names are self-explanatory, but we will develop them independently:

  • Voluntary migration: it can be internal or external, voluntary migration is the movement of people of their own free will, in search of better economic and housing opportunities.
  • Forced migration: This is not a very pleasant way to move countries, forced migration is usually the expulsion of people by the government during the state of war or other political upheaval. People forced to emigrate (external or internal) could be transported out of the country in exile, or as prisoners or slaves.

Science places an intermediate category of migration between voluntary and forced, and that is migration caused by hunger , natural disasters or the flight from war.

Why do people migrate

People move for various reasons. They consider the advantages and disadvantages of staying versus moving, as well as factors such as distance, travel costs, travel time, modes of transportation, terrain, and cultural barriers.

  • Push factors: Reasons to emigrate (leave a place) due to a difficulty (such as food shortages, war, flood, etc.).
  • Pull factors: Reasons to immigrate (move to a place) because of something desirable (like a nicer climate, better food supply, freedom, etc.).

Several types of push and pull factors can influence people’s movements (sometimes at the same time), including:

  • Environment (e.g. weather, natural disasters)
  • Political (for example, war)
  • Inexpensive (for example, work)
  • Cultural (for example, religious freedom, education)

Usefulness of place: The suitability of a place based on its social, economic or environmental situation, is often used to compare the value of living in different places. An individual’s idea of ​​the utility of a place may or may not reflect the actual conditions of that location.

Intervention opportunities : nearby opportunities are generally considered more attractive than farther away equal or slightly better opportunities, so migrants tend to settle closer to their point of origin if other factors are the same.

Distance Decrease: As the distance from a given location increases, the understanding of that location decreases. People are more likely to settle in a place (closer) of which they have more knowledge than in a place (further away) of which they know and understand little.

Impacts of migration

Human migration affects population patterns and characteristics, social and cultural processes, economies, and physical environments . As people move, their cultural traits and ideas spread along with them, creating and modifying cultural landscapes.

  • Diffusion: The process through which certain characteristics (eg, cultural traits, ideas, diseases) are spread through space and time.
  • Dissemination of Relocation: Ideas, cultural traits, etc. that move with people from one place to another and do not stay at the point of origin.
  • Expansion: Ideas, cultural traits, etc., that move with people from one place to another but are not lost at the point of origin, such as language.
  • Cultural markers: Structures or artifacts (eg, buildings, spiritual places, architectural styles, signs, etc.) that reflect the cultures and histories of those who built or occupy them.

People who migrate

  • Emigrant: Person who leaves one country to reside in another.
  • Immigrant: Person who enters a country from another to establish a new residence.
  • Refugee: Person who resides outside the country of origin for fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
  • Internally displaced person (IDP): a person who is forced to leave their region of origin due to unfavorable conditions (political, social, environmental, etc.) but who does not cross borders.
  • Migration flow: a group migration from a particular country, region or city to a particular destination.

Consequences of migration

Migration is a consequence of the unequal distribution of opportunities in space. People tend to move from a place of few opportunities and little security to a place of greater opportunity and better security . The results can be observed in economic, social, cultural, political and demographic terms.

Economic consequences

These consequences are both positive and negative:

Positive remittances are important to a country’s economy , and migrants tend to send them to their relatives for food, loan / debt repayment, treatment, marriages, children’s education, agricultural inputs, house construction, etc.

Example: The Green Revolution in rural Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh was a success thanks to migrants from rural eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.

Negative: Excessive overcrowding due to unregulated migration. Unsanitary slum development in industrially developed states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi.

Demographic consequences

These consequences can be both positive and negative:

Positive redistribution of the population within a country . The urbanization process depends on migration from the countryside to the city.

Negative imbalance in the demographic structure . Selective migration by age and skill creates an imbalance in the demographic structure of rural areas. The age and sex composition is seriously affected in states such as Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and eastern Maharashtra due to migration. The same situation occurs in the receiving states.

Social consequences

These consequences are both positive and negative:

Migrants function as an agent of social change. They spread new ideas about science and technology, family planning, education, etc. from one place to another . People also bring with them different cultures that help break down narrow considerations and broaden people’s mental horizons.

Anonymity plays in a negative way as it increases and creates a social void and a feeling of expulsion. This feeling ultimately results in antisocial activities such as crime, drug abuse, theft, etc.

Environmental consequences

Large-scale rural-urban migration leads to overcrowding in cities and puts enormous pressure on infrastructure. It also results in the messy and unplanned growth of cities in which slums are very common. Overcrowding is also related to the overexploitation of natural resources and cities face serious problems of water scarcity, air and water pollution, sewage disposal problems and solid waste management.

Other consequences

  • When migrant men leave their wives in rural areas, this puts additional physical and mental pressure on women.
  • Migration of women for education and employment gives them more freedom, on the other hand, it also increases their vulnerability.

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