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Difference Between Immigration and Migration

migrateImmigration vs Migration

The terms immigration and migration are sometimes confused by native English speakers and language learners alike: as are the words immigration and emigration. All of these are related to the movement of peoples between countries, but they are all subtly different.

Migration is a noun that is used to describe the movement of people, or even animals, between countries. It is the umbrella term under which both immigration and emigration fall. Migration is used when you are talking about waves of movement of people between countries possibly both directions: coming into a country and leaving another country. For example: ‘Following World War II there was mass migration around the world.’

The difference between immigration and emigration is an easy one and once you have grasped it, it is not difficult to remember. To immigrate means that someone has moved to a new country. For example: ‘Thomas immigrated to Australia from his native Ireland when he was ten years old.’ To emigrate is to refer to the country from which they have moved. For example: ‘Thomas emigrated from Ireland to Australia when he was ten years old.’

An easy way to remember the difference between immigration and emigration is to think that immigration refers to someone coming into a country and the word immigration begins with ‘I’.

The term immigration tends to be more commonly used than migration and emigration. This is because it tends to be a politically hot topic argued about in politics and in the street a great deal and it gets a lot of press attention.

When looking at migration as a blanket term you will encounter much discussion of legal and illegal immigration. Many countries have a problem with people entering the country illegally to search for work or as refugees without having gone through the formal governmental process. Many first world countries spend a lot of time and money protecting their borders from illegal immigration and discussing their immigration policies.

Related words to immigration and migration include: the verbs, immigrate, migrate and emigrate and the nouns that refer to the people doing the moving, immigrant, migrant and emigrant.

Summary:
1.Migration is the overall term for the movement of people between different countries
2.Immigration refers to people coming into a country
3.Emigration refers to people leaving a country for a different country
4.Immigration is a politically sensitive topic that is often discussed in the media.


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6 Comments

  1. Hello;
    First off, it infuriates me, that even ask.com has the definition wrong about the differerence between immigration and migration. I am Puerto Rican was born, and was raised there until I was 10 years old; I then moved (migrated), to Washington D.C. I don’t feel that this is a different country due to the fact that wheather we are born in Puerto Rico or here in the U.S.A, we are U.S. American citizens. Just like some birds “migrate” to a different place or area for the winter months, not another country, just a different place; therefore, they migrate.
    It’s like when people ask me, “is Puerto Rico in Central or South America?”. Or, this question kills me, “…so do you speak Puerto Rican?”. I feel like screaming no you ignorant idiot, I speak Spanish, and oh yeah just in case, Puerto Rico is in the West Indies, in the Carribean, and it is the Greater Antilles, even though is the smallest. :-0.
    Further,and as far as the notation in the bottom that states that this information is “AS IS”, “WITH ALL FAULTS”, it’s an amazing cop out. Just to think that this ignorant idiotic person gets paid for writting. OMG LOL

    • In response to the previous comment, the word Migration does not only refer to a movement within one country or locality, as you have implied. The word migration, according to every dictionary available, means to move from one country or locality to another. So the article would have been correct in stating that “Thomas migrated to Australia from Ireland”. In your particular example, since you travelled within a country, it would be correct for you to say that you “migrated” to Washington DC from Puerto Rico, since you did not move from a foreign country (as the word immigrated would suggest). But, it seems that from your comment, you imply that migration is only done within one region or country, and that is incorrect. Had you moved from the Dominican Republic to Washington DC, you could also have said that you “migrated” to Washington DC.

      In regards to your comment about Puerto Rico’s relationship to the US, I would completely agree that PR is part of the US and therefore not part of Latin America. People sometimes fail to make the distinction based on the mere fact that some Puerto Ricans speak Spanish and that the island is in close proximity to Latin American countries.

      • It sounds like there is something wrong about being from Latin America, the way you guys talk about it. So sad the Puerto Rican lady feels like belonging to a country (US) that stole their sovereignty:
        At the same time the Philippines and Puerto Rico dropped into the United States’ lap.( Puerto
        Rico, another sugar factory, remained a prisoner. From the U.S. standpoint, Puerto Ricans are
        not good enough to live in a country of their own but are good enough to die in Vietnam for a
        country which is not theirs. In proportion to population, the “Free Associated State” of Puerto
        Rico has more soldiers fighting in Southeast Asia than the rest of the United States. Puerto
        Ricans resisting compulsory military service in Vietnam are sent to U.S. penitentiaries. Other
        humiliations inherited from the invasion of 1898 and blessed by law (the law of the U.S.
        Congress) are added to service in the U.S. armed forces. Puerto Rico is symbolically represented
        in the Congress, being without vote and virtually without voice. In exchange for this right:
        colonial status for an island that before the U.S. occupation had its own currency and carried on
        prosperous trade with the principal markets. Today the currency is the dollar and customs duties
        are fixed in Washington, where everything connected with the island’s external and internal trade
        is decided. The same for foreign relations, transport, communications, wages, and work
        conditions. U.S, federal courts sit in judgment on Puerto Ricans; the local army is part of the
        U.S. army. Industry and commerce are in the hands of U.S. private interests. The emigration of
        Puerto Ricans has threatened to make denationalization complete: poverty has driven more than
        a million to New York hoping to improve their lot at the cost of losing their national identity. (from the book Open Veins of Latin America)

  2. it is a useful material. thanks

  3. “Migrant” is a person who travels to another geographic location to work. It has nothing to do with immigration – the intent to leave one’s country or origin and to physically and permanently relocate in another country.

    Originally, there were groups of “migrant workers” who lived across the border in Mexico, but crossed it to work in the US. Nowadays, they cross the border into the US to stay permanently and the onty thing that crosses in the opposite direction is the money they earned here.

  4. Immigration= in-migration
    emigration= 0ut-migration

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