Migration can be defined as the movement of people from one place to another, which includes either a permanent or temporary change of home.

It also involves seasonal and daily movements. It includes movements between countries, continents, and within a country or a continent.

Types of Migration

There are several types of migrations depending on where people move to and from. Thus you have internal, external, international, temporary, seasonal, and permanent migration.

We are going to learn what is involved in each type.

Internal migration

This refers to population movement within a country, say for example, within the borders of Tanzania. People who have moved from their original residences in some settlements to other settlements are described as internal migrants.

The movement can be described as being local. It can also be used to describe the movement of people within a specific continent say, Africa.

If people move within African countries the migration may be described as being internal with respect to the African continent.

The movement can also be described as being local to the African continent. 

Internal migration may either be temporary or permanent. Examples of permanent internal migration include rural-urban migration, region-to-region migration, rural-urban, urban-rural and urban-urban.

Internal migration involves mainly movement from rural to urban areas. This is the most important form of migration affecting the world nowadays.

Examples of temporary migration include seasonal movements like from villages to lands or cattle posts during rainy seasons, weekly/monthly or periodic, and daily movements.

For example, from farming areas to towns to sell the farm produce.. People have several reasons why they move within their own countries or locally.

Internal or local migration includes: 

  • Rural-urban migration in which large numbers of people leave rural areas to seek jobs in urban areas. 
  • Regional migration in which people leave certain regions and move to other regions for a higher amount of rainfall and better soils.  
  • Seasonal movements like when people move in one season to the lands to grow crops and back to the villages after harvest.  
  • Daily movements which includes rural to rural daily movements from homesteads to fields or grazing areas and urban to urban commuting to work places.  
  • Urban to rural e.g. people in towns retiring from work, going back to their original villages.

You now know a lot about internal movements or migration.

This is because you are somehow part of this type of migration.

Note that not all movements take place internally, sometimes people move outside their boundaries or borders.

Let us now look at international migration.

International migration

This describes the movement of people between countries which involves greater distances than is the case with internal migration.

In this movement, people leave their home country for a foreign one to face a completely different physical and social environment.

Just like with internal migration, it can be either permanent or temporary. It includes:

  • Movement of people from one region to another which may be within a continent; for example some Tanzanians, some Zambians and some Zimbabweans migrate to South African Witwatersrand for work. It may also be between continents, like people from developed go to developing countries and vice versa for various reasons. 
  • Movement of people from a developing country to a developed one is also known as intercontinental migration. For example, the movement of Botswana students to USA, UK and Australia.  
  • Seasonal movement of some people from a developed country to a developing one for a pleasant climate or just for pleasure (tourism purposes).

It is important to know that some movements made by people are compulsory or forced and others are voluntary.

Compulsory movements come about as a result of being unhappy due to violence or ill-treatment in an area.

They result from warfare, civil strife, and persecution.

These conditions cause people to migrate as refugees.

Many of the compulsory or forced migrations that have taken place have either resulted from religious, political, or economic reasons.

An example of forced movement is that of slave trade (removal of the black Africans from Africa to work in the plantations of the recipient countries) began by the Portuguese in the fifteenth century and later by the Spanish, Dutch, French and British.

Forced migration can also occur as a result of natural disasters like frequent floods, volcanic eruptions, and famine.

Voluntary movements are by human choice.

People make decisions to move for various reasons, which may be physical, economic, political, or social.

Concerning physical reasons, people may want to move from a dry area to a wet one or from an extremely cold area to a warm one.

Economical reasons: people may move from areas where there is a scarcity of jobs to where there are more jobs.

Political reasons: people may decide to leave politically unstable areas to a politically stable one.

Stepped migration

Internal migration often takes place as stepped migration. A stepped (step-wise or staged) migration occurs when a migrant reaches their
destination in a number of steps or stages, rather than in one movement frorn a source to a destination.

For example, migrants may move up the settlement hierarchy migrating from their home farm or village to a local market town and from there to a regional or capital city.

Through the process of counter-urbanisation migrants may do these steps in reverse, as they look to live in a smaller urban or more rural environment.

The migrant may be able to do this by working frorn home or a rural area by the use of the internet and postai network.

They rnay also choose to rnove to take advantage of cheaper housing, an environment that is less polluted, with lower crime rates.

A stepped rnigration breaks up what is, for many migrants, a long, challenging and potentially costly move into smaller sections.

A staged migration gives migrants a number of potential benefits, mainly social and economic.

  • lt gives rnigrants a small trial or taste of what migrating will mean, but reduces U1e risk by trying out a new life while they are still able to maintain contact with relatively familiar locations – farniliarity (nearer to home) versus unfamiliarity (the unknown).
  • lt lets them a new culture and language and assess any possible issues.
  • lt helps reduce the costs of migration and allows them to save up for the next step.
  • lt allows skills to be acquired along the way.
  • lt helps to keep the options open for the migrants in terms of a possible return migration as well as an onward move.

There may be other reasons for a stepped migration:

  • The means of transport required to move directly to the final destination may not be available or affordable.
  • There may be intervening opportunities, such as new employment opportunities.
  • lt allows the migrant to review the possible outcomes of migrating and make further decisions.
  • There may also be a lack of information about their ultimate destination.

intra urban migration

There are several types of intra-urban movements,
such as:

  • centripetal flows, such as re-urbanisation
  • centrifugai flows, such as to the suburbs, counter urbanisation, invasion and succession
  • other movements, such as from a shanty town into new housing.

The impacts of these movements vary – they can be social, economie, environmental and political; and different groups of people may experience different impacts and the impacts may be quite complex.

We hope that you have found this article useful. Why do people move from one place to another? Share your answer in the comment below.


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