Human migration  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Human migration is the migration by people from one place to another with the intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily in a new location. The movement is often over long distances and from one country to another, but internal migration is also possible; indeed, this is the dominant form globally. People may migrate as individuals, in family units or in large groups. A person who moves from their home to another place because of natural disaster or civil disturbance may be described as a refugee or, especially within the same country, a displaced person. A person seeking refuge from political, religious, or other forms of persecution is usually described as an asylum seeker.

Nomadic movements are normally not regarded as migrations as there is no intention to settle in the new place and because the movement is generally seasonal. Only a few nomadic people have retained this form of lifestyle in modern times. Also, the temporary movement of people for the purpose of travel, tourism, pilgrimages, or the commute is not regarded as migration, in the absence of an intention to live and settle in the visited places.

Many estimates of statistics in worldwide migration patterns exist.

The World Bank has published its Migration and Remittances Factbook annually since 2008. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has published a yearly World Migration Report since 1999. The United Nations Statistics Division also keeps a database on worldwide migration. Recent advances in research on migration via the Internet promise better understanding of migration patterns and migration motives.

Substantial internal migration can also take place within a country, either seasonal human migration (mainly related to agriculture and to tourism to urban places), or shifts of population into cities (urbanisation) or out of cities (suburbanisation). Studies of worldwide migration patterns, however, tend to limit their scope to international migration.

The World Bank's Migration and Remittances Factbook of 2011 lists the following estimates for the year 2010: total number of immigrants: 215.8 million or 3.2% of world population. In 2013, the percentage of international migrants worldwide increased by 33% with 59% of migrants targeting developed regions. Almost half of these migrants are women, which is one of the most significant migrant-pattern changes in the last half century. Women migrate alone or with their family members and community. Even though female migration is largely viewed as associations rather than independent migration, emerging studies argue complex and manifold reasons for this.

Often a distinction is made between voluntary and involuntary migration, or between refugees fleeing political conflict or natural disaster vs. economic or labor migration, but these distinctions are difficult to make and partially subjective, as the motivators for migration are often correlated. The World Bank's report estimates that, as of 2010, 16.3 million or 7.6% of migrants qualified as refugees. At the end of 2012, approximately 15.4 million people were refugees and persons in refugee-like situations - 87% of them found asylum in developing countries.

Structurally, there is substantial South-South and North-North migration, i.e., most emigrants from high-income O.E.C.D. countries migrate to other high-income countries, and a substantial part (estimated at 43%) of emigrants from developing countries migrate to other developing countries. The United Nations Population Fund says that "[while the North has experienced a higher absolute increase in the migrant stock since 2000 (32 million) compared to the South (25 million), the South recorded a higher growth rate. Between 2000 and 2013 the average annual rate of change of the migrant population in the developing regions (2.3%) slightly exceeded that of the developed regions (2.1%).


Human migration is the movement by people from one place to another with the intention of settling temporarily or permanently in the new location. It typically involves movements over long distances and from one country or region to another.

Historically, early human migration includes the peopling of the world, i.e. migration to world regions where there was previously no human habitation, during the Upper Paleolithic. Since the Neolithic, most migrations (except for the peopling of remote regions such as the Arctic or the Pacific), migration was predominantly warlike, consisting of conquest or Landnahme on the part of expanding populations. Colonialism involves expansion of sedentary populations into previously only sparsely settled territories or territories with no permanent settlements. In the modern period, human migration has primarily taken the form of migration within and between existing sovereign states, either controlled (legal immigration) or uncontrolled and in violation of immigration laws (illegal immigration).

Migration can be voluntary or involuntary. Involuntary migration includes forced displacement (in various forms such as deportation, slave trade, trafficking in human beings) and flight (war refugees, ethnic cleansing).

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Human migration" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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