Migration is the movement of people, involving a change of residence. It can be internal or external (international), and voluntary or forced. It is usually for an extended period (more than a year) and does not include temporary circulations such as commuting or tourism.
— The IB

types of migrant

Refugee - a person fleeing their home country in order to escape danger

Asylum seeker - people who seek refugee status in another country

Illegal immigrant - people who enter another country without permission and plan to remain there

Economic migrant - a person seeking job opportunities

Internally displaced persons (IDP) - those who have fled their homes but continue to live in their own countries


Forced vs VOLUNTARY Migration

Voluntary migration
a general term that refers to the movement of people which takes place on the migrants’ own initiative.

Forced migration
the movements of refugees and internally displaced people (those displaced by conflicts) as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine, or development projects.


Forced Migration

Forced migration is a negative form of migration, often caused by persecution, development, or exploitation.

The largest and most devastating forced migration in human history was the African slave trade, which carried 12 to 30 million Africans from their homes and transported them to various parts of North America, Latin America, and the Middle East. Those Africans were taken against their will and forced to relocate.

Forced migration is not always violent. One of the largest involuntary migrations in history was caused by development. The construction of China's Three Gorges Dam displaced nearly 1.5 million people and put 13 cities, 140 towns and 1,350 villages underwater. Although new housing was provided for those forced to move, many people were not compensated fairly.

Some of the new designated areas were also less ideal geographically, not foundationally secure, or lacked agriculturally productive soil.


voluntary migration

Voluntary migration is migration based on one's free will and initiative.

People move for a variety of reasons, and it involves weighing options and choices. Individuals who are interested in moving will often analyse the push and pull factors of two locations before making their decision.

The strongest factors influencing people to voluntarily move are the desire to live in better homes and employment opportunities. 

Other factors contributing to voluntary migration includes change in life's course (getting married, empty-nest, retirement, etc), politics (from a liberal state to a conservative state, states that recognize gay-marriage, etc.), and individual personality (suburban life to city life).




  1. Copy the definitions to your notes and memorise.

  2. Read the two texts above and create a list of the main reasons for forced and voluntary migrations in two columns.

  3. Read pp 16-18 core book or pp 42-48 Patterns and Change book. Add to your list of causes of migration.

  4. Colour code the causes to show the different types of migrant. 


further reading



  1. Research and read about the European migrant crisis
  2. Create a timeline of events with associated facts
  3. Research the causes of migration from various source countries. Share this with the group.