Advertisement

Human Ecology

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 775–776 | Cite as

The Drivers of Immigration in Contemporary Society: Unequal Distribution of Resources and Opportunities

  • Mark Patrick Taylor
Article

This essay considers the environmental implications associated with immigration and population growth and focuses on the influx of people into the United States across the Mexican border. Most forms of immigration (legal and illegal) are driven by the same essential desires and needs: resources, security, and perceived opportunities and have been ongoing since modern Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa some 60,000 years ago. The development of hunting skills and subsequently farming technologies along with a cultural ability to adapt readily to diverse climates enabled humans to expand their numbers while concomitantly exploiting new territories (see Davis 1974, for an early and succinct discussion).

The migration of populations into new habitats frequently generates its own environmental problems and this is particularly true of human migration (Hinrichsen and Robey 2000). In Australia for example, the arrival of humans some 40,000 years ago was likely the cause of a significant...

Keywords

Land Subsidence Illegal Immigrant Basic Life Support Soil Erosion Rate United States Census Bureau 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The Department of Environmental Toxicology, University of California, Santa Cruz, is gratefully acknowledged for its support during the author’s sabbatical study in 2006, where the idea for this essay was conceived. Julie Bramlet is thanked for her patient discussions along with the anonymous referee who provided some useful suggestions.

References

  1. Davis, K. (1974). The Migrations of Human Populations. Scientific American, September, 93–105.Google Scholar
  2. Gleick, P. H. (2004). The World’s Water 2004–2005. The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources, Island, New York, p. 362.Google Scholar
  3. Hinrichsen, D., and Robey, B. (2000). Population and the Environment: The Global Challenge, Population Reports, Series M, No 15, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health Information Program, Fall, 2000, pp. 31.Google Scholar
  4. National Geographic (2006). The Genographic Project, National Geographic, USA. http://www5.nationalgeographic.com/genographic—Accessed, July 5th 2006.
  5. Pimentel D., Bailey O., Kim P., Mullaney E., Calabrese J., Walman L., Nelson F., Yao, X. (1999). Will Limits of the Earth’s Resources Control Human Numbers? Environment, Development and Sustainability 1(1):19–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Tamar, J. (2006). Immigration Nation. Foreign Affairs 85(6): 50–65.Google Scholar
  7. Trewin, D. (2006). Measuring Australia’s Progress. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, pp. 216.Google Scholar
  8. United States Census Bureau (USCB) (2000). Statistical Abstract of the United States 2000. United States Census Bureau, US Government, Washington, DC, Government Printing Office. http://www.census.gov/prod/www/statistical-abstract-1995_2000.html—Accessed 22 December 2006.
  9. United States Census Bureau (USCB) (2006). Statistical Abstract of the United States 2006. United States Census Bureau, US Government, Washington, DC, Government Printing Office. http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2006/2006edition.html—Accessed 22 December 2006.
  10. Wackernagal, M., Schulz, N. B., Deumling, D., Linares, A. C., Jenkins, M., Kapos, V., Monfreda, C., Loh, J., Myers, N., Norgaard, R., and Randers, J. (2002). Tracking the Ecological Overshoot of the Human Economy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99(14), 9266–9271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Zektser S., Loáiciga H. A., and Wolf, J. T. (2005). Environmental Impacts of Groundwater Overdraft: Selected Case Studies in the Southwestern United States. Environmental Geology 47(3):396–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical GeographyMacquarie University ∼ SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations