AP Human Geography - Stephanie Ryon

Migration into the USA

Migration can be described as a type of relocation diffusion involving a permanent move to a new location.

"Ellis Island opened in 1892 as a federal immigration station, a purpose it served for more than 60 years (it closed in 1954). Millions of newly arrived immigrants passed through the station during that time--in fact, it has been estimated that close to 40 percent of all current U.S.A. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island." (history.com)

Who were the immigrants?

TeacherTube - A Virtual Voyage to Ellis Island

Where were they from?

As arrivals from northern and western Europe--Germany, Ireland, Britain and the Scandinavian countries--slowed, more and more immigrants poured in from southern and eastern Europe. Among this new generation were Jews escaping from political and economic oppression in czarist Russia and eastern Europe (some 484,000 arrived in 1910 alone) and Italians escaping poverty in their country. There were also Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, Serbs, Slovaks and Greeks, along with non-Europeans from Syria, Turkey and Armenia.

Why did they migrate?

Intervening Obstacles

These obstacles were primarily environmental. This includes, but is not limited to: transportation, physical environment, bodies of water, and local diversity in governments and politics.

Reasons for Migration

Economic migration may involve moving to find work or follow a particular career path.

Social migration may involve moving somewhere for a better quality of life or to be closer to family or friends.
If someone is a political migrant they may be moving to escape political persecution or war.
Environmental causes of migration include natural disasters such as flooding.
Some people choose to migrate, eg someone who moves to another country to enhance their career opportunities. Some people are forced to migrate, eg someone who moves away from their home region due to war or famine.
Often those who are forced to migrate become refugees. A refugee is someone who has left their home and does not have a new home to go to. Often refugees do not carry many possessions with them and do not have a clear idea of where they may finally settle.
Push and pull factors are often used to explain why people migrate:
Push factors are the reasons why people leave an area, ie what pushes them away from their home. Push factors include: lack of services, lack of safety, high crime, crop failure, drought, flooding, poverty and war.
Pull factors are the reasons why people move to a particular area, ie what pulls them to a new place. Pull factors include: higher employment, more wealth, better services, good climate, safer, less crime, political stability, more fertile land, lower risk from natural hazards.
Migration usually happens as a result of a combination of these factors.

Where are Migrants Distributed?

Global Migration Patterns

The major flows of international migrants are from less developed countries t more developed countries, especially from Asia and Latin America to North America and from Asia to Europe.

Fun Facts

Interactive Tour of Ellis Island


Essential Question

What impact does migration have on the diffusion of folk culture?