Human migration is the movement by people from one place to another with the intention of settling, permanently or temporally in a new location. People have been constantly migrating from their home countries for centuries for variety of reasons. When presented with the question—why do people migrate?—Some obvious responses would include reasonable assumptions that most people move with the hope of hope of finding better conditions or opportunities elsewhere, such as jobs, higher wages, safety or freedom of expression [A]. These are the implicit assumptions underlying the most popular theories of migration, and they can been broadly categorized as either “Push” or “Pull” factor [B]. The pull factor are those factors that draw migrants from their home countries to more developed countries, while the push factors are the unpleasant or negative factors, at migrants home countries, that make people, who find it difficult to continue to remain where they are, feel compelled to migrate.
Pull Factors include:
- Developed countries, or industrialized city areas within countries, draw labor from countries or areas where incomes are lower. For example migrants from Mexico to the U.S.
- International transport is now relatively easier and cheaper than ever, with respect to incomes, thus making commuting very easy.
- Technological advances and the unprecedented flow of data/digital information, enabled by telephone and internet, have made it easier to access information.
- Rapid economic expansion requires extra people.
- People are drawn to stable democracies where human rights and religious freedoms are more likely to be respected.
While Push Factors include:
- Lack of prospects for career advancement
- Poverty and low incomes
- High unemployment rates
- Persecution and poor human rights
- Internal conflict and war
- Natural disasters, climate change and famine
What really drives global migration?
Development drives migration. This is contrary to the opinion that migration from poor countries can be reduced by boosting the development in such countries. Development is generally not associated with decrease or lower levels of emigration. For instance, most migrants do not move from the poorest to the wealthiest countries, also the poorest countries tend to have lower levels of emigration than middle-income and wealthier countries. Mexico, Morocco, Turkey and the Philippines are typically not among the poorest countries, yet they are among the important emigration countries. Contrary to popular perceptions of a “continent on the move” – Sub-Saharan Africa is the least migratory region of the world [A]. It has been seen that any form of development in the poorest countries of the world is likely to result into a spike in emigration.
People often migrate in pursuant of good life. Aspirations to migrate depend on people’s more general life object of hope or ambition, as well as their views of life “here” and “there”. In modern times, technological progress and the unprecedented flow of data/digital information, enabled by telephone and internet, have made it easier for people to access information globally. Improved access to information, images and lifestyles conveyed through education and media tends to broaden people’s mental horizons, change their perceptions of the “good life” and typically increase material aspirations. Also, international transport is now relatively easier and cheaper with respect to incomes than ever, thus making global commuting very easy. Development processes tend to increase both people’s ability to move and their aspirations, this explains why development often boosts migration.
According to Hein de Haas, It is development itself that drives migration. Migration has therefore always been – and will remain – an inevitable part of the human experience. Migration should be viewed as an intrinsic part of broader development processes rather than as a problem to be solved, or the temporary response to development “disequilibria”. Rather than asking “why people migrate” – which often calls for, all-too-obvious and often quite meaningless answer – the more relevant question for understanding migration in the modern age is therefore how processes such as imperialism, nation state formation, the industrial revolution, capitalist development, urbanization and globalization change migration patterns and migrants’ experiences.