Global Migration and the Formation of Transnational Families



A critical feature of globalization is the movement of individuals, both within countries and across borders. As the process of global integration accelerates, we are witnessing a growing number of people on the move. While migration is not a new phenomenon, it has grown in volume and impact since 1945, and especially since the 1980s (Castles and Miller 2003). Due to growing inequalities within and between societies, large numbers of people are moving from rural to urban areas, and from developing to industrialized countries in search of opportunities and resources. Refugee flows, the growth of global organizations, and the creation of new free trade areas are also contributing to significant international migration. While actual migration numbers are low in proportion to the global population, the impacts of migration are significant. Most individuals migrate as families or in groups, and their leaving and resettlement has crucial social, political, and economic implications for their home and receiving societies. International migration provides the basis for the creation of new forms of transnational families and the movement of information and capital.

Migration is recognized as an economically, politically, and socially complex phenomenon. International migration produces large flows of monetary remittances from the industrialized world, and allows workers from all walks of life to find new opportunities that are usually not available in their home societies. Globalization has facilitated this process, in part, through the opening up of free trade zones, and the ease of transportation and communication technologies. The large flows of individuals between societies has, however, led to increased hostilities between native-born citizens and migrants in many places, creating political tensions and restrictive policy responses. Globalization has also transformed the relationship of migrants and those they leave behind. Historically, migration was associated with the severing of familial, community and societal ties. However, in the contemporary environment, migrants have many more options for maintaining relationships to their home societies, in contrast to even just several years ago. Ease of travel, combined with media such as the Internet, and video conferencing, allow individuals who leave their homes to stay in touch with loved ones in previously unimagined ways.


International Migration Identity Formation Immigrant Woman Immigrant Child Migrate Woman 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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