"Emigrant" redirects here. For other uses, see The Emigrants (disambiguation).
"Emigrate" redirects here. For the band, see Emigrate (band). For the 2007 album, see Emigrate (album). For the 1975 album, see Emigrate! Emigrate!
[[The Last of England by Ford Madox Brown, depicting emigrants leaving England

Emigration is the act of leaving one's resident country with the intent to settle elsewhere.[1] Conversely, immigration describes the movement of persons into one country from another.[2] Both are acts of migration across national boundaries.

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.

Involuntary migration refers to groups that are forced to abandon their native country, such as by enforced population transfer or the threat of ethnic cleansing.


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.

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

Push and Pull

Main article: push and pull factors

Demographers distinguish factors at the origin that push people out, versus those at the destination that pull them in.[3] Motives to migrate can be either incentives attracting people away, known as pull factors, or circumstances encouraging a person to leave.

Push factors

Pull factors

Emigration restrictions

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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8] By the early 1950s, the Soviet approach to controlling national movement was emulated by most of the rest of the Eastern Bloc.[9] Restrictions implemented in the Eastern Bloc stopped most East-West migration, with only 13.3 million migrations westward between 1950 and 1990.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] In 1961, East Germany erected a barbed-wire barrier that would eventually be expanded through construction into the Berlin Wall, effectively closing the loophole.[13] 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.[9] North Korea still tightly restricts emigration, and maintains one of the strictest emigration bans in the world,[14] although some North Koreans still manage to illegally emigrate to China.[15] Other countries with tight emigration restrictions at one time or another included Angola, Egypt,[16] Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia from 1975-1979), Laos, North Vietnam, Iraq, South Yemen and Cuba.[17]

See also


  1. "emigration - definition of emigration in English from the Oxford dictionary". oxforddictionaries.com.
  2. "immigration: definition of immigration in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". oxforddictionaries.com.
  3. Zeev Ben-Sira (1997). Immigration, Stress, and Readjustment. Greenwood. pp. 7–10.
  4. Elliott, Mark C. "The Limits of Tartary: Manchuria in Imperial and National Geographies." Journal of Asian Studies 59, no. 3 (2000): 603-46.
  5. Dowty 1987, p. 69
  6. Dowty 1987, p. 70
  7. Thackeray 2004, p. 188
  8. Böcker 1998, p. 207
  9. 1 2 Dowty 1987, p. 114
  10. Böcker 1998, p. 209
  11. Harrison 2003, p. 99
  12. Dowty 1987, p. 122
  13. Pearson 1998, p. 75
  14. Dowty 1987, p. 208
  15. Kleinschmidt, Harald, Migration, Regional Integration and Human Security: The Formation and Maintenance of Transnational Spaces, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006,ISBN 0-7546-4646-7, page 110
  16. Tsourapas, Gerasimos (2016). "Nasser's Educators and Agitators across al-Watan al-'Arabi: Tracing the Foreign Policy Importance of Egyptian Regional Migration, 1952-1967" (PDF). British Journal of Middle Eastern Countries. 43 (3): 324–341. doi:10.1080/13530194.2015.1102708. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  17. Dowty 1987, p. 186


External links

Media related to emigration at Wikimedia Commons

Look up emigration in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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