What Is a Migration Map?

A migration map displays how populations move between geographic areas. This type of map allows viewers to visualize and track population trends among humans, animals and diseases.

A human migration map shows how people move from one geographic location to another with the intention of settling, either permanently or temporarily. This may involve movement from one country to another or movement within the same country. A human migration map may track the voluntary or involuntary movement of one person, a family or a large group of people. Involuntary migration includes people who are victims of the slave trade or human trafficking. A migration map does not include people who travel as nomads, migrant laborers, commuters or tourists.

Animal migration maps allow people to visualize how different species migrate. Some species have short migrations and stay within their general range. Other species have medium migrations and stay within a country or continent. Species that migrate long distances may take several weeks to cover thousands of miles.

As people and animals migrate, diseases migrate with them. Movement spreads infectious diseases to new populations. Migration maps can show how diseases travel from one geographic location to another with changes in human and animal populations. Researchers can use migration maps to compare the rate of infectious diseases to the migrant population of a location.