FAO.org

Home > Building the #ZeroHunger Generation > Learning paths > Learning Path: Migration
Building the #ZeroHunger Generation

Migration

What is migration?
Migration is the movement of people, including children, within a country or across an international border. Migrants can be divided into 2 main categories: international migrants, who cross country borders; and internal migrants, who move within the country where they were born (from a rural area to a city for example).

The estimated number of international migrants in the world is 258 million, while around 760 million people move within their own nation. There may be more internal than international migrants, but moving to a town or city is often the first step before crossing international borders. Migration has always existed. It is part of the growth and change of a country, with people looking for better jobs and lives in their home country and beyond it too. So why is migration such a big challenge today?

Challenges and benefits
Migration is a challenge today partly because people are arriving in countries or towns in huge groups, often seeking protection. Many international migrants arrive in developing countries that have less money, food, job opportunities and natural resources to share with newcomers. Having to share these resources among more people can sometimes create problems or tensions. Rural communities can also suffer from the loss of young workers who migrate, often meaning that less food is produced or available. Similar challenges are faced with internal migration.

On the other hand, migrants can bring new skills, knowledge and cultures to their host countries. They can contribute to economic growth if they are given access to more and better jobs. Migrant can increase the workforce in communities where there aren’t enough people to do all the jobs required and also free up jobs for young people in the country they leave. Once they settle down, they often invest in their host community or support their home country by sending money.

Why is migration often the only choice?
Sometimes people move because they want a new start, a new job, to study or to be reunited with family. But sometimes people are forced to migrate because of life threatening events. They include fighting and war or natural disasters that destroy their homes like earthquakes or tsunamis. Often migration can be the only option to improve people’s lives when faced with poverty and hunger, few jobs, no support from the government, few natural resources (like water or healthy soils), or climate change impacts.

Download the activity book here.