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Emigration is the act of leaving a resident country or place of residence [1] with the intent to settle elsewhere (to permanently leave a country). [2] Conversely, immigration describes the movement of people into one country from another (to permanently move to a country). [3] A migrant emigrates from their old country, and immigrates to their new country. Thus, both emigration and immigration describe migration, but from different countries' perspectives.


Japanese government poster promoting Brazil Affiche emigration JP au BR-deb. XXe s..jpg
Japanese government poster promoting Brazil

Demographers examine push and pull factors for people to be pushed out of one place and attracted to another. There can be a desire to escape negative circumstances such as shortages of land or jobs, or unfair treatment. People can be pulled to the opportunities available elsewhere. Fleeing from oppressive conditions, being a refugee and seeking asylum to get refugee status in a foreign country, may lead to permanent emigration.

Forced displacement refers to groups that are forced to abandon their native country, such as by enforced population transfer or the threat of ethnic cleansing. Refugees and asylum seekers in this sense are the most marginalized extreme cases of migration, [4] facing multiple hurdles in their journey and efforts to integrate into the new settings. [5] Scholars in this sense have called for cross-sector engagement from businesses, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, and other stakeholders within the receiving communities. [6] [7]


Patterns of emigration have been shaped by numerous economic, social, and political changes throughout the world in the last few hundred years. For instance, millions of individuals fled poverty, violence, and political turmoil in Europe to settle in the Americas and Oceania during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Likewise, millions left South China in the Chinese diaspora during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Poster showing a cross-section of the Cunard Line's emigrant liner RMS Aquitania, launched in 1913 Aquitaniaposter.PNG
Poster showing a cross-section of the Cunard Line's emigrant liner RMS Aquitania, launched in 1913

"Push" and "pull" factors

Demographers distinguish factors at the origin that push people out, versus those at the destination that pull them in. [8] Motives to migrate can be either incentives attracting people away, known as pull factors, or circumstances encouraging a person to leave. Diversity of push and pull factors inform management scholarship in their efforts to understand migrant movement. [9] [4]

Push factors

Pull factors


Some scholars criticize the "push-pull" approach to understanding international migration. [10] Regarding lists of positive or negative factors about a place, Jose C. Moya writes "one could easily compile similar lists for periods and places where no migration took place." [11]

Emigration waves by country

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Unlike immigration, in many countries few if any records have been recorded [lower-alpha 1] or maintained in regard to persons leaving a country either on a temporary or permanent basis. Therefore, estimates on emigration must be derived from secondary sources such as immigration records of the receiving country or records from other administrative agencies. [14]

The rate of emigration has continued to grow, reaching 280 million in 2017. [15]

In Armenia, for example, the migration is calculated by counting people arriving or leaving the country via airplane, train, railway or other means of transportation. Here, the emigration index is high: 1.5% of population leaves the country annually. [16] In fact, it is one of the countries, where emigration has become a part of culture since 20th century. For example, between 1990 and 2005 approximately 700,000-1,300,000 Armenians left the country. The highly rising numbers of emigration are a direct response to socio-political and economic areas of the country. The internal migration (migration in country) is big (28.7%), while international migration is 71.3% of the total migration by people aging 15 and above. It is important to understand the reasons for both types of migration and the availability of the options. For example, in Armenia, everything is localized in the capital city Yerevan, thus, internal migration is from the villages and small cities to the biggest city of the country. The reason for the migration can be work or study. International migration follows the same reasoning of migration: work or study. The main destinations for it are Russia, France and US. [17]

Emigration restrictions

East Germany erected the Berlin Wall to prevent emigration westward Berlin Wall Potsdamer Platz November 1975 looking east.jpg
East Germany erected the Berlin Wall to prevent emigration westward

Some countries restrict the ability of their citizens to emigrate to other countries. After 1668, the Qing Emperor banned Han Chinese migration to Manchuria. In 1681, the emperor ordered construction of the Willow Palisade, a barrier beyond which the Chinese were prohibited from encroaching on Manchu and Mongol lands. [18]

The Soviet Socialist Republics of the later Soviet Union began such restrictions in 1918, with laws and borders tightening until even illegal emigration was nearly impossible by 1928. [19] To strengthen this, they set up internal passport controls and individual city Propiska ("place of residence") permits, along with internal freedom of movement restrictions often called the 101st kilometre, rules which greatly restricted mobility within even small areas. [20]

At the end of World War II in 1945, the Soviet Union occupied several Central European countries, together called the Eastern Bloc, with the majority of those living in the newly acquired areas aspiring to independence and wanted the Soviets to leave. [21] Before 1950, over 15 million people emigrated from the Soviet-occupied eastern European countries and immigrated into the west in the five years immediately following World War II. [22] By the early 1950s, the Soviet approach to controlling national movement was emulated by most of the rest of the Eastern Bloc. [23] Restrictions implemented in the Eastern Bloc stopped most east–west migration, with only 13.3 million migrations westward between 1950 and 1990. [24] However, hundreds of thousands of East Germans annually immigrated to West Germany through a "loophole" in the system that existed between East and West Berlin, where the four occupying World War II powers governed movement. [25] The emigration resulted in massive "brain drain" from East Germany to West Germany of younger educated professionals, such that nearly 20% of East Germany's population had migrated to West Germany by 1961. [26] In 1961, East Germany erected a barbed-wire barrier that would eventually be expanded through construction into the Berlin Wall, effectively closing the loophole. [27] In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, followed by German reunification and within two years the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

By the early 1950s, the Soviet approach to controlling international movement was also emulated by China, Mongolia, and North Korea. [23] North Korea still tightly restricts emigration, and maintains one of the strictest emigration bans in the world, [28] although some North Koreans still manage to illegally emigrate to China. [29] Other countries with tight emigration restrictions at one time or another included Angola, Egypt, [30] Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia from 1975 to 1979), Laos, North Vietnam, Iraq, South Yemen and Cuba. [31]

See also


  1. Americans may register to vote in US elections [12] and pay taxes [13] while living abroad.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Demographics of Armenia</span> Demographics of the country

After registering steady increases during the Soviet period, the population of Armenia declined from its peak value of 3.633 million in 1992 to 2.986 million in 2017.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Refugee</span> Displaced person

A refugee, conventionally speaking, is a person who has lost the protection of his or her country of origin and who cannot or is unwilling to return there due to well-founded fear of persecution. Such a person may be called an asylum seeker until granted refugee status by the contracting state or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) if they formally make a claim for asylum.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eastern Bloc</span> Former group of communist states aligned with the Soviet Union during the Cold War

The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America under the influence of the Soviet Union that existed during the Cold War (1947–1991). These states followed the ideology of Marxism–Leninism, in opposition to the capitalist Western Bloc. The Eastern Bloc was often called the Second World, whereas the term "First World" referred to the Western Bloc and "Third World" referred to the non-aligned countries that were mainly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America but notably also included former pre-1948 Soviet ally Yugoslavia, which was located in Europe.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Human capital flight</span> Emigration of highly skilled or well-educated individuals

Human capital flight is the emigration or immigration of individuals who have received advanced training at home. The net benefits of human capital flight for the receiving country are sometimes referred to as a "brain gain" whereas the net costs for the sending country are sometimes referred to as a "brain drain". In occupations with a surplus of graduates, immigration of foreign-trained professionals can aggravate the underemployment of domestic graduates, whereas emigration from an area with a surplus of trained people leads to better opportunities for those remaining. But emigration may cause problems for the home country if the trained people are in short supply there.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Armenian diaspora</span> Communities of Armenians outside Armenia

The Armenian diaspora refers to the communities of Armenians outside Armenia and other locations where Armenians are considered an indigenous population. Since antiquity, Armenians have established communities in many regions throughout the world. However, the modern Armenian diaspora was largely formed as a result of World War I, when the Armenian genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire forced Armenians living in their homeland to flee or risk being killed. Another wave of emigration started with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Human migration</span> Movement of people for resettlement

Human migration is the movement of people from one place to another with intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily, at a new location. The movement often occurs over long distances and from one country to another, but internal migration is also possible; indeed, this is the dominant form of human migration globally. Migration is often associated with better human capital at both individual and household level, and with better access to migration networks, facilitating a possible second move. It has a high potential to improve human development, and some studies confirm that migration is the most direct route out of poverty.Age is also important for both work and non-work migration. People may migrate as individuals, in family units or in large groups. There are four major forms of migration: invasion, conquest, colonization and emigration/immigration.

An asylum seeker is a person who leaves their country of residence, enters another country and applies for asylum in that other country. An asylum seeker is an immigrant who has been forcibly displaced and might have fled their home country because of war or other factors harming them or their family. If their case is accepted, they become considered a refugee. The terms asylum seeker, refugee and illegal immigrant are often confused.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Forced displacement</span> Coerced movement of a person or persons away from their home or home region

Forced displacement is an involuntary or coerced movement of a person or people away from their home or home region. The UNHCR defines 'forced displacement' as follows: displaced "as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Refusenik</span> Soviet citizens denied permission to emigrate

Refusenik was an unofficial term for individuals—typically, but not exclusively, Soviet Jews—who were denied permission to emigrate, primarily to Israel, by the authorities of the Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern bloc. The term refusenik is derived from the "refusal" handed down to a prospective emigrant from the Soviet authorities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Russian Americans</span> Americans of Russian birth or descent

Russian Americans are Americans of full or partial Russian ancestry. The term can apply to recent Russian immigrants to the United States, as well as to those who settled in the 19th century Russian possessions in northwestern America. Russian Americans comprise the largest Eastern European and East Slavic population in the U.S., the second-largest Slavic population generally, the nineteenth-largest ancestry group overall, and the eleventh-largest from Europe.

Illegal emigration is departure from a country in violation of emigration laws. Countries often seek to regulate who departs a country for diverse reasons, such as stopping criminals from leaving, preventing labor shortages and capital flight, and averting brain drain. The simplest case is when a country prohibits certain persons from physically leaving. Another common situation is when a person legally goes abroad but refuses to return when demanded by his or her country of origin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Immigration</span> Movement of people into another country or region to which they are not native

Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle as permanent residents or naturalized citizens. Commuters, tourists, and other short-term stays in a destination country do not fall under the definition of immigration or migration; seasonal labour immigration is sometimes included, however.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Immigration to Turkey</span> Overview of immigration to Turkey

Immigration to Turkey is the process by which people migrate to Turkey to reside in the country. Many, but not all, become Turkish citizens. After the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and following Turkish War of Independence, an exodus by the large portion of Turkish (Turkic) and Muslim peoples from the Balkans, Caucasus, Crimea, and Crete took refuge in present-day Turkey and moulded the country's fundamental features. Trends of immigration towards Turkey continue to this day, although the motives are more varied and are usually in line with the patterns of global immigration movements. Turkey's migrant crisis is a following period since the 2010s, characterized by high numbers of people arriving and settling in Turkey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees</span> 1967 UN treaty on the status of Refugees

The Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees is a key treaty in international refugee law. It entered into force on 4 October 1967, and 146 countries are parties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Emigration from the Eastern Bloc</span> Movements of people during the Cold War

After World War II, emigration restrictions were imposed by countries in the Eastern Bloc, which consisted of the Soviet Union and its satellite states in Central and Eastern Europe. Legal emigration was in most cases only possible in order to reunite families or to allow members of minority ethnic groups to return to their homelands.

Azerbaijan though not a popular destination for immigrants, has recently experienced waves of immigration with the collapse of the Soviet Union, especially from ethnic Azerbaijanis mostly from Armenia, Russia and the rest of the former Soviet Union. Meskhetian Turks were also relocated to Azerbaijan from Central Asia before and after the end of the Soviet Union. With the booming petroleum industry, immigration from Turkey has also followed. In 2010, every eighth resident in Azerbaijan was a migrant, of whom more than 90% of them are Azerbaijanis and 70% are internally displaced persons from the territories occupied by Armenia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Emigration from Africa</span> Overview of emigration from Africa

During the period of 1965 - 2021, an estimated 440,000 people per year emigrated from Africa; a total number of 17 million migrants within Africa was estimated for 2005. The figure of 0.44 million African emigrants per year pales in comparison to the annual population growth of about 2.6%, indicating that only about 2% of Africa's population growth is compensated for by emigration.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Russian language in Israel</span>

The Russian language is spoken natively by a considerable proportion of the population of Israel, mostly by immigrants who came from the former Soviet Union from 1989 onwards. It is a major foreign language in the country, and is used in many aspects of life. Russian is the third most common native language in Israel after Modern Hebrew and Arabic. Government institutions and businesses often also provide information and services in Russian, and is has effectively become semi-official in some areas with high concentration of Russian-speaking immigrants. The Russian-speaking population of Israel is the world's third-largest population of Russian native-speakers living outside the former Soviet Union territories after Germany and the United States, and the highest as a proportion of the population. As of 2013, 1,231,003 residents of the Post-Soviet states have immigrated to Israel since the fall of the Soviet Union. As of 2017, there are up to 1.5 million Russian-speaking Israelis out of total population of 8,700,000 (17.25%).

Third country resettlement or refugee resettlement is, according to the UNHCR, one of three durable solutions for refugees who fled their home country. Resettled refugees have the right to reside long-term or permanent in the country of resettlement and may also have the right to become citizens of that country.


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