Internal migration

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Internal migration is human migration within one geopolitical entity, usually a nation-state. Reasons for internal migration tend to be different from those for cross-border migration; whereas the latter often occurs primarily for political or economic reasons, reasons for internal migration prominently include travel for education and for economic, but not for political, reasons. A general trend of movement from rural to urban areas has also produced a form of internal migration, leading to rapid urbanization in many countries.

The history of many countries has seen massive internal migration:

  • The United States saw a massive internal migration from the eastern states toward the west coast during the mid-19th century, a similar large-scale migration of African Americans from the agricultural south to the industrialized northeast in the early to mid-twentieth century and a large-scale reverse migration of African Americans from other parts of the country to the urban south beginning in the late 20th century and continuing to the present.
  • The United Kingdom has historically seen several migrations from the north of England to the south, and also from Scotland, Ireland (more recently Northern Ireland) and Wales to England. This was most prevalent during the industrial revolution, and also in the aftermath of the Irish potato famine.
  • In New Zealand, the drift to the north has seen the South Island gradually lose population to the main urban area, Auckland, in the country's far north.
  • In Philippines, due to a centralized government and almost unequal distribution of government power and funds, people from the provinces head to Metro Manila to look for better jobs and opportunities. This has been continuing since then, although in small numbers.
  • In Italy, the northern and central regions experienced waves of immigrants coming from the southern regions, due to the southern portion of the country remaining somewhat underdeveloped and stricken with poverty. This has already ceased due to the southern regions' condition improving, yet a few still drift to the north.

Secondary migration[edit]

A subtype of internal migration is the migration of immigrant groups—often called secondary or onward migration. Secondary migration is also used to refer to the migration of immigrants within the European Union.

In the United States, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services's Administration for Children and Families, is tasked with managing the secondary migration of resettled refugees.[1][2] However, there is little information on secondary migration and associated programmatic structural changes.[3] Secondary migration has be hypothesized as one of the driving forces behind the distribution of resettled refugees in the United States.[4]

Somalis and Secondary Migration[edit]

Somalis, a refugee group that was initially widely dispersed in the United States, has formed significant communities in Minnesota, Ohio, and Washington.[5] Secondary migration to Minneapolis, Minnesota and Columbus, Ohio, has made those two areas first and second, respectively, in Somali American population.[5] Geographer Tamara Mott states that being near family, friends, and other Somalis was the main reason Somalis migrated to Columbus, OH.[6]

Lewiston, Maine, became a secondary migration destination for Somalis after social service agencies relocated a few families there in February 2001.[7] From 1982 to 2000, resettlement agencies placed refugees, including 315 Somalis, in the Portland, Maine area.[7] High rates of rental housing occupancy in Portland caused the first relocations to Lewiston.[7] Somalis have a history of nomadism and maintain contact, often via cell phone, with a large network of extended family, clan members, and friends.[7] More Somalis learned about Lewiston and were attracted by the quality of life there, the low housing costs, good schools, safety and greater social control of their children in the smaller town.[7] Between February 2001 and August 2002 over 1,000 Somalis moved to Lewiston.[6] Most of these early secondary migrants came from Clarkston, Georgia, a suburb just outside Atlanta.[7] By 2007, Somalis were 6.5% of the population of Lewiston[8] and had come to the city from all over the United States and at least three other countries.[7]

See also: History of the Somalis in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, History of the Somalis in Maine

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 96th Congress (March 17, 1980). "Public Law 96-212" (PDF). United States Government Publishing Office. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  2. ^ 1980 Refugee Act. Pub. L. 96-212. 94 Stat. 102. 17 March 1980. 
  3. ^ Ott, Eleanor (September 2011). "Get up and go: Refugee resettlement and secondary migration in the USA". New Issues in Refugee Research. No 219. 
  4. ^ Forrest, Tamar Mott; Brown, Lawrence A (7 April 2014). "Organization-Led Migration, Individual Choice, and Refugee Resettlement in the US: Seeking Regularities". Geographical Review. 104 (1): 10–32. doi:10.1111/j.1931-0846.2014.12002.x. Retrieved 30 June 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Forrest, Tamara Mott; Brown, Lawrence A. (Jan 2014). "Organization-Led Migration, Individual Choice, and Refugee Resettlement in the U.S.: Seeking Regularities". Geographical Review. 104 (1): 10–32. doi:10.1111/j.1931-0846.2014.12002.x – via ebscohost. 
  6. ^ a b Mott, Tamara E. (Feb 2010). "African refugee resettlement in the US: the role and significance of voluntary agencies". Journal of Cultural Geography. 27 (1): 1–31. doi:10.1080/08873631003593190 – via MasterFILE Elite. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Huisman, Kimberly A.; Hough, Mazie; Langellier, Kristin M.; Toner, Carol Nordstrom, eds. (2011). Somalis in Maine: Crossing Cultural Currents. Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books. pp. 23–56. ISBN 978-1-55643-926-1. 
  8. ^ Nadeau, Phil (Summer 2007). "The New Mainers: State and local agencies form partnerships to help Somali immigrants". National Civic Review. 96 (2): 55–57. doi:10.1002/ncr.180 – via Advanced Placement Source.