McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams

Discuss the importance of migration as a key aspect of population geography. Illustrate your essay with specific examples.

Population Geography is the study of spatial variations in distribution, migration, composition and growth, or density, of human numbers on earth. It is important because it links all aspects of human geography together. It is closely associated with demography, which is the study of population characteristics (Revision Notes, 2001). Population is affected by births and deaths, immigration and emigration. However, there are a variety of factors which can affect population geography. These include: environmental factors, for example climate or natural resources; economic factors, for example economic development, and political factors, such as government policies or conflicts. Each of these factors can in turn affect population geography by contributing to the movement or alteration of population in an area. A major influence on population geography is therefore migration.   

The last quarter of the twentieth century has been referred to as the age - or era- of migration due to the unprecedented number of persons who are no longer in their countries of birth or ethnic origin (Tsimbos, 2006). Migration has an influence on population geography in all areas of the world. However, it is often a neglected part of population study. Konseiga (2005) explains that despite the striking importance of migration and its socioeconomic and political implications, it is the least studied demographic phenomenon in West Africa. This 'movement' can range from global migration between countries to daily commuting, thus it is difficult to define. However, Pacione (2005) states it is the permanent or semi-permanent change of residence of an individual or group of people. Regardless of definition migration has a major impact on population geography; globally or locally in cities or countries.

There are therefore many factors which affect population geography. All of which appear to be linked in some way. Migration is obviously a key aspect and can influence the density, composition and distribution of population. One of the characteristics of population composition is gender. Tsimbos (2006) states how the sex ratio among the Greek and non-Greek citizens is 96.6 and 120.0 (males per females) respectively. This over-representation is considerably apparent between the ages 15 to 35 and affects the composition of the Greek population considerably. During 1991 to 2001 a small increase in the sex ratio was observed but since the natural growth of the population during this period is negligible, this upward trend can be attributed to immigration (Tsimbos, 2006). The gender composition is therefore affected by migration, indicating its importance in population geography. Tienda and Morning (2001) also state that Mexico's population composition will be driven by the assimilation of indigenous populations into the national population, a process that is shaped largely by social and economic change, along with internal migration and intermarriage patterns. In the short term however Tsimbos (2006) states that migration has a direct demographic effect on the growth and age-gender composition of the host population through the influx of persons entering the country; in the long term, immigration has indirect effects on the vital rates of the population of the receiving country via changes in the levels and patterns of fertility and mortality.      

It can therefore by concluded that the process of migration plays an important part on the influence of population geography in countries all over the world and on a global scale being brought about by a variety of different factors. The main reason most studies seem to suggest for this is poverty and the quest for an improved way of life (Nagle, 1998 and Wakabi, 2006). However, populations are always changing naturally and changes in population are also brought about by changes in birth and death rates, for example the ageing population of Japan and population growth of minority groups which have migrated to new regions. It is therefore apparent that, whilst migration is likely to be the main influence on population geography, there are many other factors which also contribute greatly to changing population all over the world.

Related Links
To Top