What do you call a person who moves within the same country?

What do you call a person who moves within the same country?
Author: 

According to IOM, people who move voluntarily within a country are called internal migrants and move for several reasons, both formally and informally. If their movement is forced, they are referred to as internally displaced persons (IDP).

Internal movements from rural areas to urban areas is called urbanization or urban transition.

Migrants who move within the borders of their country are called internal migrants, that is, people seeking a new temporary or permanent residence, regardless of the reasons for doing so. A conservative estimate from UNDP in 2009 estimated that the global figure of internal migrants was 740 million. However, this estimate is uncertain, in part because according to the series of research on migration “International migration, internal migration, mobility and urbanization”, the greater the population of a country, the greater its percentage of internal migrants. This is also partly because of the complexity of defining the limits of this category: how far should a person be mobilized to be considered an internal migrant? How much time should they spend in this new residence? These and other questions make it difficult to measure the population that migrates within the borders of a State, and few countries keep records in this regard. Population censuses are often the most frequently used instruments to measure internal migration.

Within the category of internal migrants are internally displaced persons, who, although they do not cross an internationally recognized state border, are forced to move, “in particular as a result of or to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of widespread violence , violations of human rights or natural or human-caused disasters ”, as defined by the Guiding Principles of Internal Displacement.

According to the Global Internal Displacement Report 2019, in 2018, the Americas region represented 3.7% of global internal displacements due to conflict, and 9.8% of displacements due to natural disasters. This reinforces, as the report says, that internal displacement is a global challenge, but it is concentrated mainly in some countries and regions, such as Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria.

According to the UN Population and Development Commission, urbanization or urban transition is related to “a change in a population that is dispersed in small rural settlements, in which agriculture is the dominant economic activity, towards one that is it concentrates on larger and denser urban settlements characterized by a domain of industrial activities and services”. Urbanization differs from urban growth in that the former means a movement of people, and the latter refers to an increase in the urban population. The definition of what is urban and rural changes from country to country. It is relevant to note that Central America is the second highest region in the world in terms of urbanization rates and is only surpassed by Africa.

The Migration Data Portal indicates that urbanization generally occurs through processes such as natural population growth; when more people move from rural to urban areas; when the limits of what is considered urban are extended; and as a result of the creation of new urban centers. Although there are other types of internal migration flows, such as rural-to-rural, urban-to-urban, and urban-to-rural, it is the transition to the urban that has gained increased the most significantly.

Internal migrants, internally displaced persons and those who move to urban areas can be in more than one category at the same time and from there they can sometimes get confused. In addition, we must bear in mind that people come and go, adjust their residence for short or long periods of time, and therefore migration is not necessarily a linear process. Instead, it is complex and fluid and occurs in different times and spaces. The factors that promote internal migration are multiple and combine with each other. These include social, political, economic, demographic, environmental and climate issues. Internal migration can also give rise to international movements, both within the framework of forced displacement and more voluntary processes.


7 recommendations to promote the inclusion of migrants in host communities through social and cultural activities.

Categoria: Pacto Mundial sobre Migración
Autor: Carlos Escobar

The promotion of social and cultural activities as a mechanism to encourage interaction between migrants and host communities with the aim of advancing in the construction of more just and peaceful societies, is currently a topic of special interest in studies, policies and programs on migrant inclusion and social cohesion.

Taking Intergroup Contact Theory (IGCT) as a reference, different researches argue that the interaction of people from different places and contexts, under the right circumstances, favors trust and the change of xenophobic or discriminatory perceptions. Thus, intergovernmental agreements such as the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration have integrated this perspective into their theoretical and conceptual body. In particular, Goal 16 "Empower migrants and societies to achieve full inclusion and social cohesion", calls for the creation of community centres or programs at the local level to facilitate the participation of migrants in the receiving society by engaging migrants, community members, diaspora organizations, migrant associations and local authorities in intercultural dialogue, exchange of experiences, mentoring programs and the creation of business linkages that enhance integration outcomes and foster mutual respect.

Based on the analysis and review of different research, the IOM, in its publication The Power of Contact: Designing, Facilitating and Evaluating Social Mixing Activities to Strengthen Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion Between Migrants and Local Communities – A Review of Lessons Learned, proposes a series of recommendations, based on empirical evidence, to encourage the participation of migrants and receiving communities in social and cultural activities.

1). Fun and goal-oriented

Designing and incorporating fun and exciting activities leads to a lighter and more welcoming environment for people to meet, interact and create social bonds. At the same time, setting common goals, which neither group can achieve without the participation of the other (cooperative interdependence), makes the activities more engaging and participatory.

2). Mutual appreciation

Participants should understand, recognize and appreciate culture, traditions and history as part of the process of bridging differences, maximizing each other's strengths and identifying commonalities. It is important that all individuals are able to identify how their contributions can have a positive impact on the achievement of common goals.

3). Shared ownership

Involving migrants and local communities in all phases of activities will increase their participation. This ownership empowers them, raises their self-esteem and opens up new opportunities for responsibility and commitment.

4). Guided Reflection

Dialogues and activities that allow for a certain degree of reflection help to create an atmosphere that is perceived as trusting, friendly and warm. Processing information and sharing personal and sensitive stories, which can evoke memories, are of utmost importance as long as they are carefully guided and accompanied by facilitators or project members.

5). Supervision and Trust Facilitation

Those responsible for group interactions, such as team leaders, facilitators, project staff or event planners, must play an active role in promoting equality within intergroup relations and creating an inclusive environment for all. This deliberate effort is crucial to overcome the natural tendency of participants to group themselves according to their most salient characteristics and status.

6). Sustained and regular intervention

It goes without saying that the more frequent, prolonged and intensive the participation, the better the attitude of each individual towards others. This means adopting an approach that rethinks the role of the people involved, who in turn will define the needs of their communities and ultimately take part in the design and organization of appropriate interventions.

7). Institutional support and partnership

The support of institutions such as local governments, media, government agencies and intermediary organizations is critical to promoting and facilitating constructive efforts to strengthen intergroup relations. The coordination of these institutions creates a system that can provide resources and incentives to promote and strengthen intergroup relations.

Social and cultural activities, understood as a programmatic intervention strategy to facilitate the inclusion of migrants in receiving communities, are important to the extent that they offer non-institutional spaces for interaction, where through spontaneous human contact, social ties are built based on experiences, stories, emotions and life trajectories of the participants. This facilitates the generation of trust between individuals, greater degrees of social cohesion and, of course, peaceful coexistence in communities, understood not only as the absence of conflict, but also as a positive, dynamic and participatory process in which dialogue is promoted and conflicts are resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation, through the acceptance of differences, the ability to listen, recognize, respect and appreciate others. (UN, 2021).