What Is a Pull Factor?

A pull factor is an economic, social, political or environmental condition that entices people to immigrate or move towards a new location. As opposed to push factors that drive people away from their home countries, pull factors help determine the best place to relocate.

Better standards of living and higher wages, labor demand, political and religious freedom, better social services, low crime rates, good climate and a safe natural environment in a certain country or area are common examples of pull factors.

Higher compensation and better benefits abroad for the same work people do in their home countries is a significant pull factor, since it gives people an opportunity to improve their economic circumstances. Mexican migrants, for example, moved to America for significantly higher wages, despite lower unemployment rates in their home country, according to 2011 data.

Due to a growing service sector in developed countries, the demand for low-skilled workers is another pull factor. As the local labor pool is unable to meet this demand for workers due to low wages, immigration from developing countries is encouraged.

Migrants or refugees who flee their countries because of push factors such as discrimination or persecution tend to be attracted to places that have more tolerant and less-discriminatory policies. In this scenario, freedom to exercise their religion and express their views more freely is a pull factor.