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Why people move: understanding the drivers and trends of migration to Europe

Research reports

Written by Marta Foresti, Clare Cummings

​It is time for an effective and durable policy response to the current ‘migration crisis’ in Europe.

Such a response, however, requires a better and broader understanding of what drives people to migrate in the first place. There is much debate about their motivations, and about possible solutions to the ‘crisis’ – debate that often leads to conflicting messages and theories.

To shine a light on this issue and provide some clarity, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has used a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) approach to assess the quality of the evidence that is already available to identify what drives migration to Europe.

Illustration: without money and information, migrants and refugees cannot escape poverty or conflict
Illustration: refugees and migrations share similar reasons for attempting dangerous journeys to Europe: safety, livelihoods and aspirations
Illustration: better economic prospects in poor countries actually makes it more likely that people will migrate
Illustration: tightening borders doesn't stop migration
Clare Cummings, Julia Pacitto, Deletta Lauro and Marta Foresti