While immigration means for an individual or a family to move to a new country from their country of origin with due formalities at the embassy, the word migration denotes the act of moving from one place to another - within a country or across borders, for people or birds, and usually refers not to a single individual or family but a a larger demographic.

In other words, you "migrate from" a place and "immigrate to" another.

Comparison chart

Immigration versus Migration comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartImmigrationMigration
Relative Relocation Inbound movement of a migration process Indistint relocation of any species from one place to another.

Differences in meaning

Political Context

Immigration is a hot-button issue in developed countries such as the United States, UK and France. Migration, on the other hand, is a topic of anthropological interest. There are times when migration of a population set to another country sets off political strife owing resistance from the native population, a struggle for resources, or backlash from the native labor pool in a struggle for jobs or other resources.


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"Immigration vs Migration." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 18 Jun 2019. < >