Population change via migration

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Population change via migration

What do you need to know?

Firstly a definition: Migration can be described as a movement. It can involve a permanent or temporary movement and can be voluntary or as in the case of refugees forced. You need to know five things:


  1. Why do people choose to migrate?
  2. What are the affects on the area they migrate to?
  3. What are the affects on the area they leave?
  4. What are the consequences for the migrant?
  5. Case studies.


Why do people choose to migrate?

People migrate for a huge variety of reasons and it is impossible to try and list all of them. For every potential migrant, the home or source would have a variety of positive (family, friends, house) and negatives (no job, polluted).

The destination will also have a variety of positives (possible job, betterstandard of living) and negatives (no friends, no home).

If the migrant believes that the negatives of her home outweigh the positive and the positives of her destination outweigh the negative then s/he will want to move. The only thing in their way now are the barriers such as the cost of selling her home or buying a train ticket, or, visa requirements, for example. If she can overcome these then she will move becoming a migrant.

The diagram below shows the negative and positive points to migrating between urban and rural living. Just move your cursor over the plus and minus icons:

Copyright S-cool

Note: You must realise that these are often perceived factors. For example, someone migrating to a city might perceive there to be a lot of job opportunities. It does not necessarily mean that there are. By the same token someone leaving for the countryside expecting a quieter life might find in summer that his or her little village is very noisy.

As previously mentioned, there are a vast number of different types of migrants. These could be classified in a number of ways. We could classify them as either voluntary or forced. To be forced a migrant must be in serious danger if he or she stays in the home region. We could also ask if they are temporary (to return at later date) or permanent and whether the migrants are international.

What are their motives for moving?

Economic, environmental, socio-cultural or political? By asking these questions, we build a better picture of the migrant. A complete migrant profile would be very complicated so we must simplify. You could try creating a similar table to the one below for some of your case studies:


Migration:Voluntary or forced:Temporary or permanent:National or international:Economic, environmental, socio-cultural or political:
For example, Turkish migrants to West Germany.They chose to go-voluntary.Many are permanent although some return home.International.They went to get jobs therefore economic.


What are the consequences of migration?

You need to be able to talk about the consequences of migration on the areas the migrant leave, the area they arrive in and on the migrants themselves.

This can only really be learnt through specific case studies, so there are two below. Of course you can refer to your own studies. This revision table should also help:


As more people move away from a community the culture will inevitably become diluted.

EconomicLoosing population can be good for a country if it faces overcrowding or unemployment. There is also the potential that emigrants will send money back to the original country.The guest workers are often seen as a good source of cheap labour that will do the jobs the indigenous population do not want to do.
Alternatively, it can be bad as the strongest workers or intellects move.Large numbers of migrants can put tremendous pressure on the economies of the destination areas. This is particularly true of rural to urban migration in less developed world.
Socio-culturalThe most likely migrant is a young male. This can leave behind a population of women a large percentage of whom will never have the chance to marry.Can lead to tension between immigrants and indigenous population. Most countries, the UK included have had incidents of violence against immigrants.
As more people move away from a community the culture will inevitably become diluted.
EnvironmentalMigration can ease the pressure on the environment as in Italy where migration to the North has eased the pressure on the environment in the South.Generally increases the pressure on the environment as more space is needed for housing, resources for industry, roads. Migration to Amazonia (Brazil) has accelerated the destruction of the rainforests.
Alternatively it can leave the environment under used or wasted. This would be true of built environments. Inner city areas in Northern cities (UK) are often abandoned as people move out.In an under populated country the increase in population can lead to a better use of resources and therefore improved quality of life.
Migrants employed in the construction industry could find themselves responsible for improvements to the built environment.