Gale Researches: Immigration and Migration

3 min read

| By Traci Cothran |

Immigration issues are in the news daily, and the constant barrage of information – and disinformation – is mind-boggling.  How to make sense of it?  KNOWLEDGE!

I flipped through Gale’s new eBook on GVRL, Immigration and Migration: In Context, to see what I could learn, and “Push-Pull Factors of Migration” caught my eye.  “A push factor is one that drives a migrant away from his or her place of residence. … A pull factor is one that attracts a migrant to a new place of residence.”  These factors fall into three categories: Economic, social, or environmental.  Sounds simple enough.  How many push factors can you name?  Let’s see . . .

Push Factors:

  • War
  • Famine or Food Insecurity
  • Poverty
  • Persecution due to religion, ethnicity, race, gender or sexuality
  • Few employment opportunities
  • Economic crisis or depression
  • Flooding, drought, natural disasters

Pull Factors:

  • Abundant work opportunities and high wages
  • Religious freedom
  • Social equality
  • Peace and political stability
  • Abundant food supply

These are all major influences.  Think of it, if you couldn’t feed your children due to famine or war, what would you be willing to do go get them fed and to safety?

“Although people often think of migration in international terms, push and pull factors can also govern migrations within a country, such as migrations from areas with few jobs to regions with a need for workers.”  Remember the Dust Bowl?  The Great Migration?  The Depression?  The Gold Rush?  These were times of great movement within our country due to –  in order –  drought; opportunity; poverty; and economic opportunity.  It’s not a stretch to then apply some of those same push-pull factors to international situations, such as the Potato Famine (food insecurity); WWII (persecution of Jews); Syrian War (political unrest; death and destruction); and the Rohingya crisis (ethnic persecution).  Immigration and migration are clearly not new phenomenon, indeed the Pilgrims came to the US from Europe in search of religious and economic freedom.

This entry also has a handy Words to Know section:

And all this from just one entry out of over 150 in this eBook!

No matter your politics or stance on issues surrounding immigration, knowing the past and what causes immigration – these push and pull factors – gives you a solid base for understanding today’s issues.

Immigration and Migration: In Context is available in print and eBook format on our platform, GVRL.

Traci J. Cothran

Meet the Author

Traci Cothran is a manager in Gale’s Database Program and a history buff, so she can often be found watching videos from the early 1900s in Gale’s World History In Context.  


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