Internal Migration: Types, Trends & Consequences

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

People leave town and don't plan on coming back for a variety of reasons. In this lesson, we'll look at internal migration, as well as some of the consequences of people leaving home.

Internal Migration

When you think of migration, chances are you think of people leaving their homes to start a new life overseas. Images of green cards and the Statue of Liberty probably pop into your head. However, many migrants never leave their country of origin. For whatever reason, they remain within those borders. Migrants who do not cross an international boundary are known as internal migrants, and as this lesson shows, leave home for reasons as varied as migrants who fly around the world.

Internally Displaced Persons

The most tragic form of internal migration is often as a result of conflict and violence. While soldiers and warriors often capture the minds of people reading and learning about these conflicts, the truth of the matter is that there are millions of people who never pick up a weapon but are nonetheless affected by conflict. However, it is not always just conflict; severe famine and disease can also produce the conditions for people to want to leave their home regions. Once these individuals cross an international border, they are called refugees. However, millions of people want to leave but never actually make it out of the country and they are known as internally-displaced persons.

Such internally-displaced persons may move only a few miles away from home for a few weeks while fighting calms down or they may end up shifting hundreds of miles away for quite some time. For example, Somalia has been in a state of civil war for more than 25 years. Much of this fighting is in the South and East parts of the country, especially around the capital of Mogadishu. However, to the north and west, there is practically no fighting. As a result, many internally-displaced people from southern Somalia end up in this northern region.

Brain Drains

Let's say you've just graduated from college. You have a shiny new degree in something very specialized, whether it's Chinese language or computer engineering. Where are you going to move? If you're like many people, chances are you won't be taking that degree back to a small farm. Instead, and especially if you get offers from multiple companies, you are going to want to move someplace exciting with other like-minded people. Whether it's Silicon Valley; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; or Portland, Oregon, some places are just more exciting than others.

As a result, parts of the country are experiencing a brain drain, in which highly educated people leave in order to pursue better opportunities elsewhere. While many countries experience this, it is also a fact of life for some states and countries within the United States. To counteract this, they often offer extreme incentives for both companies and workers.

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