What is migration? According to the Oxford dictionary, migration is defined as “the movement of large numbers of people, birds, or animals from one place to another.” The United Nations estimates that in 2019, nearly 272 million people migrated internationally (from one country to another). Keep in mind that some individuals migrate out of choice, while many others out of necessity. Refugees are an example of those who are forced out of their home countries due to circumstances beyond their control, while migration by choice can be one who may have the resources at home, but they choose to leave for personal reasons, such as choosing to attend an educational institution outside their home country.

There are many reasons individuals and families migrate. The four main reasons provided by clients for migration include:

1. quality of life
2. cost of living
3. opportunities
4. safety

(1) Quality of life can encompass many factors such as the number of required work hours to afford basic needs. Quality of life also considers what goods or services are available in a particular region and at what cost. Another consideration when determining the quality of life is asking: what part of a country’s population lives below the poverty line? If this number is high, chances are, the quality of life is not so good. (2) Cost of living usually considers income ratio, tax rates, and cost of goods. If income is low and goods are expensive, this can place high pressure on the head of household to feed and shelter their dependents. (3) Opportunities usually encompass education and careers. Whether or not scholarships and loans are available to prospective students to advance their education, for example. Also, the value of a degree depending on the institution it is earned from can make a large difference as well. Career growth is another part of this evaluation. (4) Safety is the last big factor. This can include environmental causes, such as drought or flooding, and the governments’ ability or willingness to respond to problems. Lack of safety can also be due to gangs, corrupt government, or war.

Regardless of the reason, scholars generally agree that migration is overall positive. Ideas and cultures can be shared across the globe. This allows for personal development along with economic growth. The United States of America has by far the largest number of immigrants, estimated at 51 million. This is four times more than the second leading country which is Germany at 13 million.

This year, don’t forget to celebrate International Migrants Day on December 18th.

**THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO BE LEGAL ADVICE. EVERY CASE IS DIFFERENT. YOU SHOULD CONSULT AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY TO DETERMINE HOW THIS GENERAL INFORMATION IMPACTS YOUR SPECIFIC CASE.