Migration Patterns

Some Key Historical Factors Of  Migration

Industrialization population from rural areas to urban areas.  Industrialization is highly correlated with mass migration i.e. as industrialization advanced there was a shift of resulting overcrowding of the cities caused many poorer inhabitants to seek a better life elsewhere.

Agricultural failure (the potato famine in Europe) also caused mass migration .

Improvements in Transportation

The arrival of rail-road transportation, which was relatively cheap and fast, also hastened migration.

The change from wind driven ships to steam also impacted migration.  Travel by wind driven ships was always perilous.  People waiting in ports, for the right winds, were often exposed to various new diseases and, as they waited, had to spend  their meager savings in port.  Furthermore, wind driven ships took from one to three months to cross the Atlantic.  Statistics show that, in the 1700s, approximately 17 percent died on the ships or shortly after disembarking; sometimes the rate of  survival was as low as 10 percent.  With the arrival of the steamship all that changed.  Steamships crossed the Atlantic in a predictable 10 days.  Travelers could now schedule their departures and lessen their exposure to disease in ports and ships. 

If the trip from Europe to the US was seen as monumental ordeal, a trip from Asia was more so.  A trip from China or Japan to Hawaii was farther than from London to New York -- and the America lay 2,000 miles farther. Because of the hazardous  shipping conditions, immigrants to the Americas came mostly from Northern and Western Europe.  After the arrival of the steamship, new patterns of migration emerged.  Immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe began traveling to the  Americas. Likewise, travel from Asia to the Western Hemisphere also became more popular.

The falling prices of air transport has changed the nature of migration, making it less permanent. By 1990, air transport  costs per mile had dropped 20% of their 1930 level.


Transatlantic Slave Trade-
The slave trade has a long history.  The transatlantic slave trade was neither Africa's longest or largest but it has had a significant impact on the make-up of current populations.  As can be seen from the following statistics, the African slave trade was not just confined to the United States--its scope was very international.  The transatlantic slave trade began in 1442 when African slaves were sent to Europe (Portugal). In 1550 slaves were sent to the Caribbean. The vast majority of the international trade was carried out by non-U.S.        enterprises.  In fact, the African slave trade began before the United States was even founded.   Britain was the nation most deeply  involved 41% Portugal 29% France 19% Holland 6, US 3% Denmark 1% (shipments).

Overall, 11-15 million slaves are thought to have been taken from Africa.  Most of the slaves came from Senegal to Angola. Slave ships landed in Brazil, the Caribbean, and North America. A significant proportion of  the United States, the Caribbean and Brazilian populations are descendants of slaves. Interestingly, only 5-7 percent of slave came to the U.S. Today, over 40 million descended from slaves. In many countries, descendants of Africans were segregated from the white population.  Over the last 40 years, however, efforts have been made towards integrating  those of African descent.

Britain abolished slavery in the 1820s, the Untied States in the 1860s and Brazil in 1888. Since the 1940, Caribbeans descended from African slaves have been returning to Britain.

industrial revolution - 17 million from Europe to the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand, 1891-1920 - 27 million from Europe

Colonization of the New World -1846-1939 around 59 million left Europe for the US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Australia New Zealand and South Africa.  Migration was welcomed as a fresh source of labor.  Originally, immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe suffered more discrimination than those descendants of Northern and Western Europeans.  After early discrimination as an underclass, however, the majority of these descendants assimilated.

Indentured servitude--1860-1960 - 60 million indentured servants/workers Indentured servants were chiefly from China and India though other countries were involved as well .  The Chinese went everywhere- the America, Africa, Europe and throughout the Far East. Indians went primarily to the Caribbean, Africa, Asian colonies (Burma, Malay and Borneo), inhabitant from Oceania  (1840-1915) went to Melanesian and Micronesians to Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, New Caledonia, French Polynesia Nauru and Peru. The Japanese went to the U.S. and Hawaii.

Armenian Genocide--1912-1926 - 3 million Greeks and Armenians emigrated from Turkey after Turkey's genocide of Greek and Armenian populations

German Resettlement--1940s and 1950s-- the return of 12.5 million ethnic Germans who had settled in the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania or Yugoslavia.

Indian/Pakistani resettlement--1947 mass migration of Hindus from Pakistan into India and vice versa  (7 million refugees each)

Japanese Post War Resettlement--1946 6 million Japanese transferred back from China, Manchuria and E Asia

Jewish Settlement of Israel--1946-1963 - 1 million immigrants went to Israel.

Where are the migrants?
The US is the largest gross recipient of immigrants (in absolute terms) among OECD countries. Relative to population, however, gross immigration rates are now about 1/2 the rate recorded between the middle of the 19th century and the first 2 decades of the 20th century.

Canada and the U.S, about 1 in 9 or 10 is an immigrant

Most European countries have switched from being emigration nations and are now receiving  a net inflow of migrants (due to the fall of Iron Curtain and Ethnic conflict. The majority of immigrants in European are currently linked to family reunification. In Europe about 1 in 11 or 12 is an immigrant

Oceania is the most "immigrant dense region", with about 5 million foreign-born persons (1 in 5)

In Japan, net migration has traditionally been negligible.

The source of migrants still largely reflects geographical proximity and historical ties:

              Germany - Turks and East Europeans
              Italy - former territories and colonies
              US - Mexicans
              Australia - Asia, New Zealand and UK

There are between 7 and 8 million Gypsies living in Europe.  Originally, Gypsies came from India but, after hundreds of years, they have no               recollection of their homeland. Gypsies began arriving in Eastern Europe in the 13th century and in Western Europe in the 15th century. Their dark skin makes them distinguishable from other West and East European populations and, therefore, they are easy targets for discrimination.  though, gypsies have widely varying customs, they share a common language: Romany.

Persecution of Gypsies began in the 16th century and forced them to travel (also their tradition of trading practice - door to door selling).  Until 1864, gypsies were slaves in Romania; afterwards they remained second-class citizens.  With the abolishment of slavery in Romania, gypsies scattered across Europe.  It is estimated that 200,000-280,000 migrated to the west since 1960.  Recent discrimination and violent harassment of Gypsies in Romania, Bulgaria, and the former Yugoslavia has caused many Gypsies to migrate to Western Europe.  This large-scale migration is a pan-European problem. Only recently has the E.U. and international community paid to this significant minority. Many southern European countries consider the 'gypsies' their major ethnic problem.

Some New Factors of  Migration

The 'graying' of populations and the reduced birthrates of many couples in the industrialized world means that most industrialized nations will need migrant labor.

Many industrial countries are now concerned about the 'graying' of their populations.   This is a global phenomenon but the effects are being felt first in the industrialized countries that had their demographic transition earlier.

Dependency ratio - number of working people (20-64) needed to support the elderly (65 +). The minimum ratio is a 3: below this, there may not be enough working adults to finance public services or to pay for the pensions of the older generation. To achieve a numerically stable population, countries will have to are immigrants.

World's Oldest Countries
% of Population 65 years and older

              Sweden 17.9                                                        Greece 14.8
              Norway 16.3                                                        Spain 14.1
              U.K. 15.7                                                             Finland 13.9
              Belgium 15.4                                                         Luxembourg 13.8
              Denmark 15.4                                                       Bulgaria 13.8
              Austria 15.3                                                          Hungary 13.7
              Italy 15.2                                                               Portugal 13.6
              France 15.0                                                           Netherlands 13.2
              Germany 15.0                                                        Japan 12.8
              Switzerland 14.9                                                    U.S. 12.6
              Source: US Bureau of the Census 1993