Permanent change of residence by an individual or group, excluding such movements as nomadism and migrant labour. Migrations may be classed as internal or international and as voluntary or forced. Voluntary migration is usually undertaken in search of a better life; forced migrations include expulsions during war and the transportation of slaves or prisoners. The earliest humans migrated from Africa to all the continents except Antarctica within about 50,000 years. Other mass migrations include the forced migration of 20 million people as slaves from Africa to North America in the 16th–19th centuries and the Great Atlantic Migration of 37 million people from Europe to North America between 1820 and 1980. War-related forced migrations and refugee flows continue to be very large, as are voluntary migrations from developing nations to industrialized ones. Internal migrations have tended to be from rural areas to urban centers.
Learn more about migration, human with a free trial on Britannica.com.
Human migration denotes any movement by humans from one locality to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups.
Migration (resulting in population isolation) is one of the four evolutionary forces (along with natural selection, genetic drift, and mutation). The discipline of Population genetics is the study of the distribution of and change in gene variation (allele) frequencies under such influences.
The movement of populations in modern times has continued under the form of both voluntary migration within one's region, country, or beyond, and involuntary migration (which includes the slave trade, trafficking in human beings and ethnic cleansing). People who migrate are called migrants, or, more specifically, emigrants, immigrants or settlers, depending on historical setting, circumstances and perspective.
The pressures of human migrations, whether as outright conquest or by slow cultural infiltration and resettlement, have affected the grand epochs in history (e.g. the fall of the Western Roman Empire); under the form of colonization, migration has transformed the world (e.g. the prehistoric and historic settlements of Australia and the Americas). Population genetics studied in traditionally settled modern populations have opened a window into the historical patterns of migrations, a technique pioneered by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza.
Forced migration (see population transfer) has been a means of social control under authoritarian regimes, yet free initiative migration is a powerful factor in social adjustment (e.g. the growth of urban populations).
In December 2003 The Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM) was launched with the support of Kofi Annan and several countries, with an independent 19-member Commission, threefold mandate and a finite life-span, ending December 2005. Its report, based on regional consultation meetings with stakeholders and scientific reports from leading international migration experts, was published and presented to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 5 October 2005.
Different types of migration include:
Historical migration of human populations begins with the movement of Homo erectus out of Africa across Eurasia about a million years ago. Homo sapiens appear to have colonised all of Africa about 150,000 years ago, moved out of Africa 70,000 years ago, and had spread across Australia, Asia and Europe by 40,000 years ago. Migration to the Americas took place 20 to 15,000 years ago, and by 2,000 years ago, most of the Pacific Islands were colonised. Later population movements notably include the Neolithic revolution, Indo-European expansion, and the Early Medieval Great Migrations including Turkic expansion.
hives of all weird dicks it is from this island that seafaring peoples migrated, perhaps in distinct waves separated by millennia, to the entire region encompassed by the Austronesian languages. It is believed that this migration began around 6,000 years ago. Indo-Aryan migration to and within Northern India is consequently presumed to have taken place in the Middle to Late Bronze Age, contemporary to the Late Harappan phase in India (ca. 1700 to 1300 BC). From 180 BC, a series of invasions from Central Asia followed, including those led by the Indo-Greeks, Indo-Scythians, Indo-Parthians and Kushans in the north-western Indian subcontinent.
From about 750 BC the Greeks began 250 years of expansion, settling colonies in all directions. Other examples are small movements like ancient Scots moving from Hibernia to Caledonia and Magyars into Pannonia (modern-day Hungary). Turkic peoples spread across most of Central Asia into Europe and the Middle East between the 6th and 11th centuries. Recent research suggests that the Madagascar was uninhabited until Malay seafarers from Indonesia arrived during the 5th and 6th centuries A.D. Subsequent migrations from both the Pacific and Africa further consolidated this original mixture, and Malagasy people emerged.
Before the expansion of the Bantu languages and their speakers, the southern half of Africa is believed to have been populated by Pygmies and Khoisan speaking people, today occupying the arid regions around the Kalahari and the forest of Central Africa. By about 1000 AD Bantu migration had reached modern day Zimbabwe and South Africa. The Banu Hilal and Banu Ma'qil were a collection of Arab Bedouin tribes from the Arabian peninsula who migrated westwards via Egypt between the 11th and 13th centuries. Their migration strongly contributed to the arabization and islamization of the western Maghreb, which was until then dominated by Berber tribes. Ostsiedlung was the medieval eastward migration and settlement of Germans. The 13th century was the time of the great Mongol and Turkic migrations across Eurasia.
Between the 11th and 18th centuries, the Vietnamese expanded southward in a process known as nam tiến (southward expansion). Manchuria was separated from China proper by the Inner Willow Palisade, which restricted the movement of the Han Chinese into Manchuria during the Qing dynasty, as the area was off-limits to the Han until the Qing started colonizing the area with them later on in the dynasty's rule.
The Age of Exploration and European Colonialism led to an accelerated pace of migration since Early Modern times. In the 16th century perhaps 240,000 Europeans entered American ports. In the 19th century over 50 million people left Europe for the Americas. The local populations or tribes, such as the Aboriginal people in Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Japan and the United States, were usually far overwhelmed numerically by the settlers. More recent examples are the movement of ethnic Chinese into Tibet and Eastern Turkestan, ethnic Javanese into Western New Guinea and Kalimantan (see Transmigration program), Brazilians into Amazonia, Israelis into the West Bank and Gaza, ethnic Arabs into Iraqi Kurdistan, and ethnic Russians into Siberia and Central Asia.
While the pace of migration had accelerated since the 18th century already (including the involuntary slave trade), it would increase further in the 19th century. Manning distinguishes three major types of migration: labour migration, refugee migrations and lastly: urbanization. Millions of agricultural workers left the countryside and moved to the cities causing unprecedented levels of urbanization. This phenomenon began in Britain in the late 18th century and spread around the world and continues to this day in many areas.
Industrialization encouraged migration wherever it appeared. The increasingly global economy globalised the labour market. Atlantic slave trade diminished sharply after 1820, which gave rise to self-bound contract labour migration from Europe and Asia to plantations. Also overpopulation, open agricultural frontiers and rising industrial centres attracted voluntary, encouraged and sometimes coerced migration. Moreover, migration was significantly eased by improved transportation techniques.
During this same period similar large numbers of people migrated over large distances within Asia. Southeast Asia received 50 million migrants, mainly from India and south China. North Asia, that be Manchuria, Siberia, Central Asia and Japan together, received another 50 million. A movement that started in the 1890s with migrants from China, Russia and Korea, and was especially large due to coerced migration from the Soviet Union and Japan in the 1930s. Less is known about exact numbers of the migrations from and within Africa in this period, but Africa experienced a small net immigration between 1850 and 1950, from a variety of origins. Transnational labour migration reached a peak of three million migrants per year in the early twentieth century. Italy, Norway, Ireland and the Quongdong region of China were regions with especially high emigration rates during these years. These large migration flows influenced the process of nation state formation in many ways. Immigration restrictions have been developed, as well as diaspora cultures and myths that reflect the importance of migration to the foundation of certain nations, like the American melting pot. The transnational labour migration fell to a lower level from 1930s to the 1960s and then rebounded.
The United States experienced considerable internal migration related to industrialization, including its African American population. From 1910–1970, approximately 7 million African Americans migrated from the rural Southern United States, where blacks faced both poor economic opportunities and considerable political and social prejudice, to the industrial cities of the Northeast, Midwest and West where relatively well paid jobs were available. This phenomenon came to be known in the United States as its own Great Migration.
The twentieth century experienced also an increase in migratory flows caused by war and politics. Muslims moved from the Balkan to Turkey, while Christians moved the other way, during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. 400.000 Jews moved to Palestine in the early twentieth century. The Russian Civil War caused some 3 million Russians, Poles and Germans to migrate out of the Soviet Union. World War II and decolonization also caused migrations, see below.
Patrick Manning, Migration in World History (2005) p 132-162.
Adam McKeown, 'Global migration, 1846-1940' in: Journal of Global History (June 2004).
The Jewish across Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East formed from voluntary migrations, enslavement, threats of enslavement and pogroms. After the Nazis brought the Holocaust upon Jewish people in the 1940s, there was increased migration to the 16.5 million Germans expelled from Eastern Europe westwards. The second largest group were Poles, millions of whom were expelled westwards from eastern Kresy region and resettled in the so-called Recovered Territories (see Allies decide Polish border in the article on the Oder-Neisse line). Hundreds of thousands of Poles, Ukrainians (Operation Wisła), Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians and some Belarusians, were in the meantime expelled eastwards from Europe to the Soviet Union. Finally, many of the several hundred thousand Jews remaining in the Eastern Europe after the Holocaust migrated outside Europe to Israel.
Small countries like island states can have extremely high migration rates that fluctuate over short times due to their low overall population: Micronesia -2% per year, Grenada -1.6%, Samoa -1.2%, Dominica -0.93%, Suriname and Virgin Islands -0.87%, Greenland -0.83%, Guyana and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines -0.75%; Liberia 2.7%, Kuwait 1.6%, Turks and Caicos Islands 1.1%, San Marino 1.1%.
For more data on contemporary migration see:
In general we can divide factors causing migrations into two groups of factors: Push and pull factors. In general:
Some certain factors are both push and pull like education, industry etc.
On the macro level, the causes of migration can be distilled into two main categories: security dimension of migration (natural disasters, conflicts, threats to individual safety, poor political prospects) and economic dimension of migration (poor economic situation, poor situation of national market). [AIV document]
Push and pull factors are those factors which either forcefully push people into migration or attract them. A push factor is forceful, and a factor which relates to the country from which a person migrates. It is generally some problem which results in people wanting to migrate. Different types of push factors can be seen further below. A pull factor is something concerning the country to which a person migrates. It is generally a benefit that attracts people to a certain place. Push and pull factors are usually considered as north and south poles on a magnet.
For more information go to: