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"Emigrant" redirects here. For the band, see Emigrate (band).
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Emigration is an aspect of human migration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement in general is termed migration. There are many reasons why people might choose to emigrate. Some are for reasons of religious, political or economic freedom or escape. Others have personal reasons such as marriage. Some people living in rich nations with cold climates choose to move to warmer climates when they retire.

Emigration had a profound influence on the world in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, when millions of poor families left Europe for the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, the rest of Latin America, Australia and New Zealand.

Even though definitions may be vague and vary somewhat, emigration/immigration should not be confused with the phenomenon of involuntary migration, such as instances of population transfer or ethnic cleansing.

Factors leading to emigrationEdit

Motives to migrate can be either incentives attracting people away, known as pull factors, or circumstances encouraging a person to leave, known as push factors, for example:


Push factorsEdit

  • Lack of employment or entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Lack of political or religious rights
  • Restrictions on practice of religion
  • Shortage of farmland; hard to start new farms
  • Oppressive legal/political conditions
  • Military draft, warfare
  • Famine or drought
  • Cultural fights with other cultural groups
  • Expulsion by armed force or coercion

Pull factors Edit

  • Better opportunities for acquiring farms for self and children
  • Cheap purchase of farmland
  • Instant wealth (as in California Gold Rush)
  • More job opportunities
  • Higher pay
  • Prepaid travel (from relatives)
  • Better welfare programmes
  • Better schools
  • Join friends and relatives who have already moved
  • Build a new nation
  • Build religious community
  • Political freedom
  • Cultural richness

Emigration restrictions Edit

File:Berlin Wall Potsdamer Platz November 1975 looking east.jpg
Further information: Eastern Bloc emigration and defection,  Illegal emigration,  Panmunjeom,  Operation Keelhaul, and Berlin Wall

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.[1]

The Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union began such restrictions in 1918, with laws and borders tightening until even illegal emigration was nearly impossible by 1928.[2] 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, which rules greatly restricted mobility within even small areas.[3]

At the end of World War II in 1945, the Soviet Union occupied several Eastern 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.[4] Before 1950, over 15 million immigrants emigrated from Soviet-occupied eastern European countries to the west in the five years immediately following World War II.[5] By the early 1950s, the Soviet approach to controlling national movement was emulated by most of the rest of the Eastern Bloc.[6] Restrictions implemented in the Eastern Bloc stopped most East-West migration, with only 13.3 million migrations westward between 1950 and 1990.[7] However, hundreds of thousands of East Germans annually emigrated 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.[8] 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.[9] In 1961, East Germany erected a barbed-wire barrier that would eventually be expanded through construction into the Berlin Wall, effectively closing the loophole.[10] In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, followed by the unification of Germany and 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.[6] North Korea still tightly restricts emigration, and contained the most strict emigration bans in the world even in the late 1980s, before the fall of the Berlin Wall,[11] though some North Koreans illegally emigrate to China.[12] Other countries with tight emigration restrictions at one time included Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia from 1975-1979), Laos, North Vietnam, Iraq, South Yemen and Cuba.[13]

See also Edit

Look up this page on
Wiktionary: emigration

Notes Edit

  1. Elliott, Mark C. "The Limits of Tartary: Manchuria in Imperial and National Geographies." Journal of Asian Studies 59, no. 3 (2000): 603-46.
  2. Dowty 1989, p. 69
  3. Dowty 1989, p. 70
  4. Thackeray 2004, p. 188
  5. Böcker 1998, p. 207
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dowty 1989, p. 114
  7. Böcker 1998, p. 209
  8. Harrison 2003, p. 99
  9. Dowty 1989, p. 122
  10. Pearson 1998, p. 75
  11. Dowty 1989, p. 208
  12. Kleinschmidt, Harald, Migration, Regional Integration and Human Security: The Formation and Maintenance of Transnational Spaces, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2006,ISBN 0754646467, page 110
  13. Dowty 1989, p. 186

References Edit

  • Böcker, Anita (1998), Regulation of Migration: International Experiences, Het Spinhuis, ISBN 9055890952 
  • Dale, Gareth (2005), Popular Protest in East Germany, 1945-1989: Judgements on the Street, Routledge, ISBN 0714654086 
  • Dowty, Alan (1989), Closed Borders: The Contemporary Assault on Freedom of Movement, Yale University Press, ISBN 0300044984 
  • Harrison, Hope Millard (2003), Driving the Soviets Up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0691096783 
  • Krasnov, Vladislav (1985), Soviet Defectors: The KGB Wanted List, Hoover Press, ISBN 0817982310 
  • Mynz, Rainer (1995), Where Did They All Come From? Typology and Geography of European Mass Migration In the Twentieth Century; EUROPEAN POPULATION CONFERENCE CONGRESS EUROPEAN DE DEMOGRAPHE, United Nations Population Division 
  • Pearson, Raymond (1998), The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire, Macmillan, ISBN 0312174071 
  • Thackeray, Frank W. (2004), Events that changed Germany, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0313328145 

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