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Migration drivers are structural elements that have the potential to facilitate, enable, constrain, and trigger migration processes. Migration drivers might increase or decrease the salience of migration, the likelihood of certain migration routes, and the desirability of different destinations. Migration drivers affect migration directly but also, sometimes even more importantly, indirectly as part of a configured migration driver environment. In our assessment of the migration literature we broadly distinguish between nine migration driver dimensions (demographic, economic, environmental, human development, individual, politicoinstitutional, security, socio-cultural, and supranational) and 24 migration driving factors. The circumstances, ways and modes, but also the extent to which a set of driving factors may influence migration (decision-making) processes are dependent on the functionality of migration drivers, which is a central aspect in understanding the specific role single or combinations of migration drivers may play in migration. We propose to distinguish between predisposing, mediating, proximate, and triggering migration drivers, and beyond the degree of immediacy, drivers of migration can also be characterised by their temporality, elasticity, selectivity, and geography.



Working paper

Publication Date





1 - 45


Migration drivers, driver taxonomy, meta-analysis