Contemporary Migration: Forced Migration, Patterns & Impacts Video

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  • 0:03 Modern Migration
  • 0:47 Labor Migration
  • 1:26 Urbanization
  • 1:54 Forced Migration
  • 2:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

This lesson will seek to explain modern migration. In doing so, it will highlight labor migration, urbanization, and forced migration. It will also highlight the term diaspora.

Modern Migration

Although humans have been moving from place to place since the creation of time, the 19th and 20th centuries saw an explosion in human migration. This explosion of sorts will be the topic of today's lesson as we discuss modern migration patterns, specifically discussing the concept of forced migration.

To begin, migration is simply defined as the movement from one place to another. It's a farmer putting down his plow and moving from Ireland to America, and it's a German Jew fleeing his country in the World War II era. With these examples, historians usually cite three concepts that have greatly affected modern migration. They are labor migration, urbanization, and forced migration.

Labor Migration

We'll kick things off with labor migration. Labor migration can be quickly explained as people moving from their home regions in search of employment. When discussing labor migration, the example usually given is the massive influx of Irish immigrants into the United States during the 19th century. Being devastated by the infamous Potato Famine, the farmers of Ireland came to America's shores looking for employment in the towns and cities of the more industrialized United States.

Interestingly, the U.S. also experienced considerable internal 20th century movement due to labor migration. For example, it's estimated that millions of African Americans left the poorer areas of the rural Southern U.S. in search of the higher paying, urban jobs of the Northeast.


With this mention of cities, we come to our next concept that affected modern migration, urbanization. As industry started replacing agriculture, the industrialization of the world's economy led to urbanization, the movement from rural to urban areas. In other words, millions of agriculturalists left their farms and moved to the cities in search of work. According to those who study migration, the process of urbanization had its origin in Britain and then spread throughout the world.

Forced Migration

Leaving urbanization, we come to our last concept, forced migration. Forced migration is the process in which people are coerced away from their home regions. Unlike labor migration and urbanization, forced migration is not considered voluntary. On the contrary, it's often necessary for survival. Probably one of the most famous, yet horribly shameful, modern examples of forced migration occurred as Jews fled Nazi Germany.

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