The movement to begin life in a new region, a new country or new continent has been happening continuously throughout human history. From the immigration of man from Africa 80,000 years ago to the ongoing impelled migration humanity has seen more recently with over four million migrants and refugees coming to America since World War II, migration is a constant fixture in the world.

Emigration & Immigration

Emigration happens when people leave a country bound for life in another, while immigration happens when those people arrive in their new country. Emigration can result from lack of food, housing, healthcare, jobs, freedom and/or the presence of war. A notable example of immigration in American history is the arrival of the Pilgrims from England. The purpose of their move was to allow for more religious freedom and the ability to practice their faith the way they saw fit without interference from the British king.

Chain Migration

Chain migration is caused by several migrations within a certain group of people. It could take place within a family, within a culture or religion or within an entire nationality. The immigration of Pacific Islanders to New Zealand since the early 1900s is a prime example of chain migration. Free entry into New Zealand has historically been possible for residents of such places as the Cook Islands and Niue. The continuous migration has shaped the country and Auckland these days has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world, with 200,000 of its one million residents coming from the Pacific Islands.

Impelled Migration

While these people may not be forced to leave their homes and countries, an impelled migration happens when people leave because of unfavorable or unsafe situations. War and religious persecution are common reasons for impelled migration. When people strongly oppose the political views of their government they may also reluctantly migrate elsewhere. This could be either on a permanent or temporary basis. Residents of East Germany in the early 1960s were stopped from migrating to West Germany by force and the construction of the Berlin Wall. Although dangerous and illegal in the eyes of the East, Germans attempted immigration, some successfully, to the West by any means possible to escape Soviet rule.

Seasonal Migration

It is usually people’s work that is responsible for the bulk of seasonal migration. Workers who provide labor on farms often migrate each season to where they can find work. If they are fruit pickers for example, work may only available during summer months. Return migration is usually followed by seasonal migration when people return home after the working season is complete. This cycle can repeat itself year after year.

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