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What are some examples of push factors?

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Quick Answer

Some examples of push factors are war, lack of job opportunities and natural disasters such as hurricanes or droughts. Push factors are forceful conditions that drive people to migrate from the area in which they live.

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Full Answer

Economic, political and environmental push factors influence a person's decision to migrate. Economic push factors usually provide the main impetus for migration. People migrate to new countries because they are motivated by better job prospects, a higher standard of living for their families, or a greater number of career opportunities made available through education. For example, 40 percent of Indians who migrated to the United States did so because of the country's high demand for low-wage skilled labor in the high-tech industry, according to Globalization 101.

A classic example of a political push factor is civil strife or persecution. This occurred during the Second World War when Jewish refugees migrated to the United States in order to escape Nazi persecution. Over 1.5 million Syrians fled to surrounding countries following the atrocities of 2011's Syrian Civil War. Specific push factors in this case included mass civilian killings, torture and the use of chemical weapons.

Harsh environmental conditions, such as drought, desertification and famine, also constitute push factors. An example is the Irish Potato Famine of September 1845. English winds had carried an airborne fungus called phytophthora infestans to the Dublin countryside, wiping out the potato crop and causing a horrible stench. Without their main food crop to rely on, millions of Irish citizens migrated from their country to escape starvation.

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