In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Migration

  • Introduction
  • Overviews of International Migration
  • Journals
  • Reasons for Migration
  • Highly Skilled Labor Migration
  • Low-Skilled and Temporary Labor Migration
  • Adaptation Process and Outcomes of Integration
  • Socioeconomic Outcomes
  • Residential Outcomes
  • Family and Gender Relationship
  • Children of Immigrants
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Transnationalism
  • Migration Policy

Sociology Migration
Eric Fong, Jenny X. Li
  • LAST REVIEWED: 08 January 2019
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 May 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0128


Migration refers to the movement of people from one location to another. Although migration occurs both within and between countries, our discussion concentrates on the latter type of migration, international migration. The discussion of international migration usually focuses on the causes and consequences of the movement for the individual migrant. The literature on the causes of international migration explains why people move from one location to another in spite of the substantial economic, social, and psychological costs incurred. The literature on the consequences of international migration is diverse, addressing not only the processes of immigrants integrated into the receiving society but also various dimensions of their integration. That literature in early years had assumed a straight-line path of assimilation of immigrants into the mainstream society over time. More recent literature, on the other hand, envisions different paths leading to different outcomes of integration. As for the literature on various dimensions of immigrant integration, studies explore Socioeconomic Outcomes, Residential Outcomes, Family and Gender Relationship of immigrants, and socioeconomic standing and educational achievement of the second generation. In addition to the causes and consequences of migration, studies in this area also explore the Intergroup Relations between local residents and immigrants as well as the transnational linkages between the home and host countries among migrants.

Overviews of International Migration

As mentioned, the focus of this review is international migration. Currently there are a limited number of textbooks on the subject. However, there are some comprehensive handbooks prepared by leading scholars in the area. Despite a common purpose and target audience, these works differ greatly in terms of structure, scope, and focus. To present a complete picture of the multidimensional determinants and implications of international migration, a recently published reader, Gold and Nawyn 2013, consisting of nearly fifty chapters, brings together specialists in the field of migration who hail from virtually all the social sciences. The authors offer an updated overview of subjects ranging from histories of global population movements to major theoretical frameworks and concepts to methods of data collection and analysis. Massey and Taylor 2004 focuses on the roles of economic forces and government policies in shaping global migration patterns in both developing and developed countries. Similarly, Castles, et al. 2014 provides an overview of world migration history and examines various consequences of migration to both host and local communities—this book is updated every few years to keep pace with the rapid changes in migration flows, technologies, the world economy, and state policies. Those whose primary geographic area of interest is the United States will find an insightful read in Hirschman, et al. 1999, a collection of essays focusing on the motives and adaptation strategies of immigrants settling in the United States after 1965.

  • Castles, Stephen, Heine de Haas, and Mark J. Miller. 2014. The age of migration: International movements in the modern world. 5th ed. New York: Guilford.

    This book introduces migration theories, the multidimensional impact of migration, and the macro-forces (states, laws, institutions, policies, world markets) that shape international migration patterns. Also provides a detailed overview of world migration history across continents.

  • Gold, Steve, and Stephanie Nawyn, eds. 2013. Routledge international handbook of migration studies. New York: Routledge.

    This volume of forty-seven essays survey the histories, theories, and methods for studying international migration. It includes chapters on various aspects of migration, including migration history in each of the five continents, immigrants and employment, Transnationalism, and forced migration.

  • Hirschman, Charles, Philip Kasinitz, and Joshua DeWind, eds. 1999. The handbook of international migration: The American experience. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    This is a compilation of articles includes a wide range of topics, from underlying motives to the process of adaptation to the host community. Most importantly, this work represents a rethinking of traditional migration theories.

  • Massey, Douglas S., and J. Edward Taylor, eds. 2004. International migration: Prospects and policies in a global market. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/0199269009.001.0001

    For those interested in more than migration to the United States, this book focuses on the causes, issues, and trends pertaining to migration flows from developing to developed regions of the globe and vice versa.

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