Migration – Concept, types, causes and consequences

We explain what migration is and the types of migration that can occur in animals and humans. Also, its causes and consequences.

Migrations have been a source of cultural, racial and economic diversity.

What is migration?

When we talk about migration, we mean displacement of human populations (or animals, as the case may be) from a usual origin to a new permanent destination, where they once again make their home. It is a term used in the sociological and also biological fields, depending on whether we speak of human migrations or animal migrations.

In the case of animals, these movements can be regular, according to a mating calendar, or definitive, due to pressures of another nature; but in the case of human populations it is usually a more complicated matter, motivated by reasons of a diverse nature and which also impacts the target society.

Migration is a phenomenon mankind has become accustomed to since ancient timesSince there have always been groups that for one reason or another leave their place of residence to found new towns or join existing ones.

In fact, migration has been throughout history a powerful source of cultural, racial and economic diversity, which has fostered development through exchange.

However, migration does not always take place in a happy context. Too There are many cases of displaced people due to armed conflicts, famines or natural disasters, who seek asylum and new opportunities in other latitudes, not to mention the exiles and populations expelled for racial or political reasons from their homelands, becoming outcasts or wandering citizens until they found a home elsewhere.

Types of migration

We have already said that there are two forms of migration, depending on whether we are talking about animals or human beings. However, in the latter case, we can also talk about certain migratory categories, which are:

  • Depending on the duration of the trip. One can speak of temporary migrations, in which the population spends time away from their place of origin and later returns to it; or permanent migrations, in which a one-way trip to another place is undertaken.
  • Depending on the nature of the displacement. Depending on whether the move is voluntary or not, we can speak of voluntary migration or forced migration, respectively.
  • According to the destination of the displacement. We can speak of internal migrations, when the destination is chosen within the same country, or external migrations, when it is an international destination.

Expand on: Types of migration

Causes of migration

Wars often make cities and countries uninhabitable.

In the case of animal migration, the causes generally have to do with two things:

  • Winter and the breeding season. Many species flee the coming cold by traveling south, or traveling long distances to return to a specific spawning or mating site.
  • Habitat alterations. They occur when something breaks the ecological balance of their habitat: the arrival of new species, pollution of the environment or natural disasters.

The causes of human migration, on the other hand, can be more diverse:

  • Economic crisis, poverty or famine. When living conditions in a country or region deteriorate beyond what is bearable, it is common for human populations to start migrating, seeking opportunities elsewhere.
  • Wars and armed conflicts. Violence often renders cities and countries uninhabitable, forcing their inhabitants to march towards peaceful or non-conflict areas.
  • Exiles and persecutions. Changes in the political regime often lead to radical changes in the rules of the game in society, and in these cases some people or communities are forced to abandon their homes and lives, expelled outside the country, or flee to save their lives.
  • Natural disasters. Cataclysms, climatic disasters, major industrial or energy accidents, and a large number of accidents that make life difficult in the place of origin.

Consequences of migration

Human migrations tend to have great repercussions on both the place of origin and the place of destination, such as:

  • Demographic changes. This includes the emptying of cities and regions from the place of origin, generating a cultural and economic vacuum that sometimes complicates things even more for those who remain, and the massive arrival of migrants to the place of destination, generating a greater demand for local resources. .
  • Cultural and ethnic exchange. The mixture and miscegenation, the hybridization of cultures and races, provides new and fresh inputs both to the destination society and to the genetic pool of its population, enhancing the difference, variety and cultural richness.
  • Changes in economic dynamics. Migrants often send money to their left-behind relatives, representing a new and additional economic movement at the destination. At the same time they provide labor power for their new society and sometimes the wealth that they carry with them.
  • Xenophobia. Resistance to migration by the inhabitants of the destination can reach dangerous limits and unleash violence, racism and other extreme manifestations.