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Permanent change of residence by an individual or group, excluding such movements as nomadism and migrant labour. Migrations may be classed as internal or international and as voluntary or forced. Voluntary migration is usually undertaken in search of a better life; forced migrations include expulsions during war and the transportation of slaves or prisoners. The earliest humans migrated from Africa to all the continents except Antarctica within about 50,000 years. Other mass migrations include the forced migration of 20 million people as slaves from Africa to North America in the 16th–19th centuries and the Great Atlantic Migration of 37 million people from Europe to North America between 1820 and 1980. War-related forced migrations and refugee flows continue to be very large, as are voluntary migrations from developing nations to industrialized ones. Internal migrations have tended to be from rural areas to urban centers.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on migration, human, visit Britannica.com.
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