Push and Pull Factors in Human migration

Source: Wikipedia, 


Emigration is the act of leaving one’s native country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state, is termed migration. There are many reasons why people might choose to emigrate. Some are for political or economic reasons, or for personal reasons like finding a spouse while visiting another country and emigrating to be with them. Many older people living in rich nations with cold climates choose to move to warmer climates when they retire.

 A memorial statue in Hanko, Finland, commemorating the thousands of emigrants who left the country to start a new life in the United States[1]
Many political or economic emigrants move together with their families toward new regions or new countries where they hope to find peace or job opportunities not available to them in their original location. Throughout history a large number of emigrants return to their homelands, often after they have earned sufficient money in the other country. Sometimes these emigrants move to countries with big cultural differences and will always feel as guests in their destinations, and preserve their original culture, traditions and language, sometimes transmitting them to their children. The conflict between the native and the newer culture may easily create social contrasts, generally resulting in an uncomfortable situation for the “foreigners”, who have to understand legal and social systems sometimes new and strange to them. Often, communities of emigrants grow up in the destination areas. 

Emigration had a profound influence on the world in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, when millions of poor families left Europe for the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, the rest of Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand

Even though definitions may be vague and vary somewhat, emigration/immigration should not be confused with the phenomenon of involuntary migration, such as instances of population transfer or ethnic cleansing

Motives to migrate can be either incentives attracting people away, known as pull factors, or circumstances encouraging a person to leave, known as push factors, for example: 

Human migration is movement (physical or psychological) by humans from one district to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. The movement of populations in modern times has continued under the form of both voluntary migration within one’s region, country, or beyond, and involuntary migration (which includes the slave trade, trafficking in human beings and ethnic cleansing). People who migrate are called migrants, or, more specifically, emigrants, immigrants, or settlers, depending on historical setting, circumstances and perspective. 

The pressures of human migrations, whether as outright conquest or by slow cultural infiltration and resettlement, have affected the grand epochs in history (e.g. the Decline of the Roman Empire); under the form of colonization, migration has transformed the world (e.g. the prehistoric and historic settlements of Australia and the Americas). Population genetics studied in traditionally settled modern populations have opened a window into the historical patterns of migrations, a technique pioneered by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza

In general we can divide factors causing migrations into two groups of factors: Push and pull factors. In general: 

  • Push Factors are economic, political, cultural, and environmentally based.
  • Pull Factors are economic, political, cultural, and environmentally based.
  • Barriers/Obstacles of which Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s is an example.

On the macro level, the causes of migration can be distilled into two main categories: security dimension of migration (natural disasters, conflicts, threats to individual safety, poor political prospects) and economic dimension of migration (poor economic situation, poor situation of national market). [AIV document] 

Push and Pull Factors


Push and pull factors are those factors which either forcefully push people into migration or attract them. A push factor is forceful, and a factor which relates to the country from which a person migrates. It is generally some problem which results in people wanting to migrate. Different types of push factors can be seen further below. A push factor is a flaw or distress that drives a person away from a certain place. A pull factor is something concerning the country to which a person migrates. It is generally a benefit that attracts people to a certain place. Push and pull factors are usually considered as north and south poles on a magnet. 

Push Factors 

  • Not enough jobs
  • Few opportunities
  • “Primitive” conditions
  • Desertification
  • Famine/drought
  • Political fear/persecution
  • Poor medical care
  • Loss of wealth
  • Natural Disasters
  • Death threats
  • Slavery
  • Pollution
  • Poor housing
  • Landlords
  • Bullying
  • Discrimination
  • Poor chances of finding courtship

Pull Factors 

  • Job opportunities
  • Better living conditions
  • Political and/or religious freedom
  • Enjoyment
  • Education
  • Better medical care
  • Security
  • Family links
  • Industry
  • Better chances of finding courtship


A memorial statue in Hanko, Finland, commemorating the thousands of emigrants who left the country to start a new life in the United States[1] 


23 Responses to “Push and Pull Factors in Human migration”

  1. Talent Corp “seeks out” Malaysian diaspora « Dr Ko Ko Gyi’s Blog Says:

    […] Talent Corp “seeks out” Malaysian diaspora By drkokogyi Comment: If you wish to really do your job of pulling back the BRAIN DRAIN, please kindly refer to my article, “Push and Pull Factors in Human migration” […]

  2. zamanzima mazibuko Says:

    This information has a clear description of the push and pull factors.the information is very much helpfull

  3. Akaash Says:

    This website is very resourceful but I would like to see more push and pull factors about human migration.

  4. Daud mogha Says:

    What’s up? Your website is beyond the resourceful, so keep it up! May God bless you. Mostly I will be very happy if you will send to me the notes about POPULATION in general. Iam Mr. Daud Mogha, The student from St. John found in Tanzania. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

  5. me Says:

    this helped me during my social studies home work..

  6. Liam Says:

    This is a good web site

  7. mulaudzi vhahangwele Says:

    I learned the push and pull factors in a good and understandable way I now know the reason why people migrate

  8. joshELTORO Says:

    You should include something about the consequences of urbanization! 🙂

  9. Daudi Sadarak Says:

    Actually this message is clear to my side,although find more details.

  10. Daud Mogha Says:

    Thank you Dr. for your elaboration about migration. God bless you.

  11. Tearitaake Terikaua Says:

    Thank you very much for putting up your web site.It awesome.It helps me a lots in doing my school stuff.Gud on ya mate****

  12. darcy Says:

    Thanks for the help with geography homework!

  13. Suleman munir Says:

    Very nice and good explination about push and pull factor thanks

  14. Dakota Bowling Says:

    thanks for helping me w| the answers to my social studies blog, very appriciated .

  15. yonnatan Says:

    this helped me a lot

  16. raihan Says:

    help my homework

  17. pushpakant Says:

    Good but factors should be given in detail

  18. lionel yong kwok liang Says:

    battlefield is so funny and crazy game in the world

  19. priti shah Says:

    wow its side so good

  20. daniel kalekwa Says:

    hope u r ok,i hv got a knowledge 4m the study

  21. mojaki-tumelo Says:

    these information is very important to peoeple espesially to those who are geographers of the future south africans who want to learn and also teach people about disadvantages and advantages of migrations

  22. Nyabuto Ombiro Says:

    please Give A Brief Discussion On The Points Itemized Above,i.e,push And Pull Factors

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