What are the 'push' and 'pull' factors in migration?

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'push' and 'pull' factors are a key and simple way to explain migration, and is something studied at both GCSE, IGCSE and A-Level, and even potentially at university.

Simply put, a 'push' factor is something that makes someone want to LEAVE an area. Typically 'push' and 'pull' factors are used in the context of rural-urban migration i.e. internal migration. Therefore a 'push' factor from the countryside to the city could be a natural disaster or poverty in the countryside. This is very common in poorer nations. 

Likewise, a 'pull' factor is something that makes someone want to COME to an area. An example of this could be the greater provision of services and recreational faciltities in cities such as hospitals, schools (services) and cinemas (recreational facilities).

Often, push and pull factors are linked, for example a push factor from the rural area being the lack of secondary or tertiary sector. An urbanised area might have many secondary or tertiary sector jobs would then be something that attracts someone to a urban area - a 'pull' factor. The fact that someone leaves the rural area directly to fulfil their need in an urban area can be linked together, like in this example, but can also be induvidual, such as the need to escape poverty in a rural area, but then arriving and living in a slum/favela in the city. Here, the push factor has not been remedied by a direct urban pull factor, but some could say that the lure of the city being a wealthy place was a sufficient pull factor. 

In more advanced stages of urbanisation and migration, we can look at 'push' and 'pull' factors in the opposite end, i.e. in the move TO the rural areas. This often occurs with counter-urbanisation and is prevalent in MEDCs. To create the relevant 'push' and 'pull' factors, here, it is a simple case of looking what  may attract someone living in a city to live in a rural area e.g. the cost of living; it is high in the city (push) and lower in the countryside (pull). 

I hope this helps! 

Neel R. GCSE English Literature tutor, GCSE French tutor, GCSE Geogra...

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