Migrlltioll is the movement of people from one geographic area to another for the purpose of changing residency. Migration affects the size and distribution of the population in a given area. Distribution refers to the physical location of people throughout a geographic area. In the United Stales. people are not evenly distributed throughout the country; many of us live in densely populated areas. Density is the number of people living in a specific geographic area, In urbanized areas. density may be measured by the number of people why live per room. per block. or per square mile. Migration may be either international (movement between two nations) or i internal (movement within national boundaries). Internal migration has occurred throughout u.s. history and has signi significantly changed the distribution of the population over time.Migration involves two types of movement: immigration and emigration. immigration: is the movement
of people into a geographic area to take up residency. Each year. more th3.111 million people enter the United States. primarily from Latin America and Asia. Over the last three decades. there has been a ten-fold increase in the number of adult Mexican immigrants living in the United States. Today. these immigrants alone account for more than 11 million to 12 million people in this country, and their children make up approximately 20 percent of the u.s. child population. with these rates being even higher in states such as Texas and California.Working with immigrant families and their children has become an important concern (see Box 19.2). Immigration rates are not an accurate reflection of the actual number of immigrants who enter a country. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
records only legal immigration based un entry visas and change-of-immigration-status forms. Similarly. few records are maintained regarding c’migrclliou-lhc movement of people out of a geographic area to take up residency elsewhere. To determine the net migration in a geographic Mea. the number of people leaving
that area to take up permanent or semi permanent residence elsewhere (emigrants) is subtracted from the number of people entering that area to take up ‘residence there (immigrants). unless more people are moving out of the area than into it. in which case the mathematical process is reversed. People migrate liber voluntarily or involuntarily. PIIII factors at the international level. such as a democratic government. religious freedom. employment opportunities. or a more temperate climate. may draw voluntary .
immigrants into a nation. Within nations. people from large cities may he pulled to rural areas by lower crime rates, more space. and a lower cost of living. People such
3S Antonia Fuentes. whose decision to migrate to the United States is described at the b<,ginning of this chapter. are drawn by pull factors such as greater economic opportunities at their destination and are pushed b)’ factors such as low wages and few employment opportunities in their previous place of residence. Push factors at the international level, such as political unrest. violence, war. famine. plagues. and natural disasters. may encourage people to leave one area and relocate elsewhere. Push factors in regional U.S. migration include unemployment, harsh weather conditions. a high cost of living. inadequate school systems. anti high crime rates.
Involuntary. or forced. migration usually occurs as a result of political oppression, such as when lcws tled Nazi Germany in the 1930s or when Afghans left their-“Country- to.escape oppression there in the early 2000s. Slavery is the most striking of involuntary migration; for example. the 10 million to 20 million .