• 2-minute read
  • 25th September 2014

Word Choice: Immigration, Emigration and Migration

Although closely related, “immigration,” “emigration” and “migration” have distinct meanings that you need to understand. This will ensure you can use them effectively in your writing.

All three words describe the movement of people (and sometimes animals) from one place to another. However, the correct word to use depends on the situation. Learn more about their usage below.

Immigration (Arriving)

Immigration is the act of entering or arriving in a new country of residence. It would be used in a sentence like this:

Jesse’s family originally immigrated to America in 1621.

Emigration (Leaving)

The word “emigration” refers to leaving one country and moving somewhere else. Emigration, like immigration, is usually a permanent, rather than a temporary, move. We would use ’emigration’ in a sentence like this:

Jesse’s ancestors emigrated from England aboard the Mayflower.

Don’t forget that “immigration” is spelled with a double “m,” while “emigration” only has one!

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Migration (Movement)

Migration is the movement of people or animals from one location to another. This covers movement in general, whether leaving or arriving.

When “migration” describes the movement of animals, it is usually from a cold location to a warmer one during winter. We would use it in a sentence like this:

American buffalo migrate large distances to find fresh pasture.

The same journey can be described using all three words, dependent upon the point of view. To continue the example above, we could say that Jesse’s ancestors migrated when they emigrated from England and immigrated to America.

If you would like further advice about word choice or academic writing, the professionals at Proofed can help you today!

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