Migration | VOL. 10, ISSUE 58, January-February 2010

Understanding Migration

Migration is the crossing of a boundary in search of work and/or residence for a certain minimum period of time. It includes the movement of refugees, displaced persons, uprooted people as well as economic migrants. Internal migration refers relocation from one area (a province, district or municipality) to another within one country while international migration is a territorial relocation of people between nation states. Two forms of relocation can be excluded from this broad definition: first, a territorial movement which does not lead to any change in ties of social membership and therefore remains largely inconsequential both for the individual and for the society at the points of origin and destination, such as tourism; second, a relocation in which the individuals or the groups concerned are purely passive objects rather than active agents of the movement, such as organised transfer of refugees from states of origins to a safe haven. The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography defines a migrant as ‘a person who moves voluntarily from one country to another for purposes of permanent residence. That person is an emigrant from his native country and an immigrant into a new country’. Migration is probably a more important element in determining population structure and change in an area than fertility and mortality. The volume of migration or gross migration includes all migration flows into and out...

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