Migration means leaving your home country and living or working somewhere else. Some countries, like the USA, have a population that is made up mainly of immigrants or their descendants who have arrived there in the past 200 years.

Today, about 150 million people live outside their native countries. The biggest movements of people are from

  • Central and South America to North America
  • Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Unionto Western Europe.
  • Africa and Asia to the Middle East and Europe




People leave their home countries for many reasons. Sometimes they think they can get better jobs and more money in richer countries. Sometimes they leave their own country for political reasons or because of their religion.

During the course of history people have left their homes because of unemployment, wars in their country or because of a famine. Thousands of Irish men and women left the island in the middle of the 19th century because there was a potato crisis and many of them didn’t have enough to eat.

The Balkan wars in the 1990s left millions of people homeless. They became refugeesand went to neighboring countries to the north and west.

Some countries depend on immigrants to keep their economy running or because they have low birth rates and need foreigners to work. Today, governments in many countries face illegal immigration. Especially the USA and countries in Western Europe are sending back more and more people to their home countries.



World Population- Table of Contents


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Related Topics



  • birth rate = shows how many babies are born for every 1,000 people in a year
  • course =as something moves or goes on
  • depend on =need
  • descendant = someone who is from a family that lived a long time ago
  • economy =the buying and selling of things in a country
  • especially =above all
  • face = to have a problem
  • famine = when many people don’t have enough to eat for a longer time
  • foreigner = a person from another country
  • former = earlier
  • government =the people who rule a country
  • homeless = without a place to live
  • illegal immigration = if you enter another country but you are not allowed to
  • immigrant = a person who goes to another country to live and work there
  • mainly =mostly
  • movement =here: change in place, travel
  • native = the country where you were born
  • population = the number of people living in a place
  • potato = a round white vegetable with a brown skin that grows under the ground
  • reason =cause, explanation
  • refugee = someone who has to leave his own county , mostly because of a war
  • running = going
  • Soviet Union = the largest country in the world—it fell apart in 1991 after the end of Communism
  • unemployment = if you cannot get a job