Study on Population Movement

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The migrations may seem the chaotic process, because lots of factors are almost impossible to predict. The different types of movement intersect, creating an incredibly tangled pattern. Still, though it is indeed impossible to make precise predictions, the general directions of population movement can be foreseen.

It is much easier when the major factors like an ecological disaster or armed conflict are involved, but studying the secondary factors like worsening health conditions or food quality, also can help to understand the geography of the potential movement. Nowadays the two most important factors are the ecological conditions and being in a war zone.

To understand better the mechanics of population movement, we should start from the definition of the population movement itself. Understanding what is population movement itself we then can study the causes of it and the most common movement examples. The population movement is the movement of people (in case of human population) from one place to another with intentions to settle in the new location either temporarily or permanently. The movement can be internal, within the borders of the country or other subject of political geography, or international.

The subjects of the population movement or migrants can be also divided into two main categories. The first one is humanitarian migrants – the people who flee from some unbearable conditions that threaten their lives: refugees and asylum seekers. Usually they prefer the short-distance migrations, trying to choose the countries geographically close to the one they flee from and not having any preferences. One of the major humanitarian movement examples is the stream of refugees from Afghanistan to Pakistan and Iran that stays stable for the last decade.

The other category is called economic migrants. Economic migrants usually move to find better working conditions and gain more wealth.Usually people moved from the poorer countries to the more prosperous ones, but now, with the development of the Internet, lots of people who have distant jobs migrate to poorer countries to get the income of their country of origin, but buy goods and services in the country where they cost much less.

Here is the list of the major factors of population movement and the corresponding movement examples:

Socio-political factors are the biggest cause of human migration. They can include persecutions because of race, religion, social status, caste etc. Also the major reason of socio-political migration is warfare or the threat of it, oppressive and tyrannical government or just an uneasy political situation in the country.

One of the major socio-political movement examples is the case of refugees going to Australia going there by boat from all over the world including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka. All these countries survived through the devastating conflicts during the last decade. Iran is the only exception, but the horrible situation with human rights there makes the situation in the country equally threatening for the lives of its citizens.

Using the religion or ethnic identity as a political tool can cause a major conflict up to the open civil war and, in any case, become a reason of a big population movement to a safer place. The state that undergoes the transition from one political regime to the other also has to survive through the massive population movement other inwards or outwards. Often the migration is the response of the citizens to the social instability the government isn’t capable to deal with.

The recent movement examples because of that reasons are from Indian Ocean Region. They go through the transition to democracy but fail to unite the various ethnic groups to end their rivalry. Without the strict and oppressive government to keep them in row the countries of IOR suffer from the internal conflicts that cause migration. The sociologists suggest that the socially diverse countries are more prone to become victims of migration than mononational countries or the tolerant ones.

Socio-political migrants are usually humanitarian ones. They choose the country of destination not because of its financial wellbeing but because of its tolerance to the migrants, safety and the ability to become protected by the law. But later some of them may make a secondary migration, now as economic migrants, moving from mere safety to financial stability or the broader rights given to the refugees.

Economic factors

Economic factors, obviously, usually cause the population movement of economic migrants. They seek better situation with unemployment rates, working standards or the general state of the country economy. Also the economy may be fine at the moment, but the increasing risk of worsening may urge the people to migrate too.

Usually at first the migrations are internal: from rural to urban regions (rarely vice versa). Also there is a small but steady stream of economic migrants from the developing countries to developed ones. But the international migration can be caused not only by the collapse of the economy: lots of economic migrants seek for higher wages, broader opportunities and better laws and regulations.

This migrants usually come from the country where the level of education increases fast and the level of jobs for educated people doesn’t catch up. It creates lots of overqualified people with high demands who don’t want to be low-wage workers but can’t find the job according to their qualification. This form of migration has the name of south-north migration (because of the most common geographical direction of it) and is the most popular form of economic migration. Often such migrants leave their families behind and send money to them.

Another type of migration that is called south-south migration is the movement of the population from the one country to the equally developed another but with different conditions. The migration between developing countries is caused by proximity to the head office of the company, seasonal migrations or income differentials for particular jobs.

South-south migration often happen between the neighboring and culturally close countries. Also such type of migration is easier for the migrants, because the barriers for the south-north migrations are usually much higher and the developed countries are less tolerant to the migrants.

A special kind of economic migration is circular migration that is mostly seasonal – when the migrants move between their country of origin and the country they work. Circular migrants usually send back to their country of origin larger remittances than the other types. As we can see, economic migrants have much more possibilities than humanitarian ones and the wider choice of the countries of destination. They aren’t limited with the nearest safe country and aren’t pressed to leave immediately with whole their family.

Ecological factors and Climate issues

Climate changes now can be viewed as separate factor, because the rapid shifts of the temperature and humidity cause both economic and humanitarian migrants. Major changes become the reason of lots of natural disasters that make people migrate to safe places. Also the climate changes cause the failure of the economy of agricultural countries that rely on the crops to develop. Ecological factors can influence economical, political and even religious situation in the country triggering mass migrations.

The history knows cases of the whole regions abandoned because the climate became unsuitable for human survival. Some societies manage to reform, transferring from the agricultural basis to something else and find the alternative crops that are able to survive in the new climate conditions.

But before the situation is stabilized, the wave of migrants will move to the nearby countries not yet affected by the climate change. The scarcity of resources puts an additional strain to the economy of the country, especially the developing one. So, the less developed is the country and the less differentiated is its economy the longer the transition period will take.

The other major environmental issues include the quality and security of food and water, the ecological disasters caused by humans (e.g. oil spilling or other type of pollution). This reason for migrations is usually temporarily, because nowadays more and more nations address these issues and lots of humanitarian missions are dealing with improving the conditions in the suffering countries.

Still, the climate and ecological refugees stay the major part of overall migrants and this issue should be taken as one of the most serious causes of population movement in the next decade. In the age of globalization and increasing tolerance to the migrants, humanity has to develop ways of helping those willing to move, without overloading the economy of the countries of destination and disrupting their cultural context.

It is very important also to deal with the issues that cause migration beforehand, helping the developing countries to survive through their transitional period or a crisis caused by external factors.

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