Migration and Quality of Life in the Global Context

  • David BartramEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


As with most significant decisions people make, migration is generally an attempt to improve one’s quality of life. In conventional terms, one might expect that such an attempt would normally succeed, particularly when migrants are moving to countries where quality of life is generally higher (in part because those countries are wealthier). But it is not obvious that migration has a generally positive effect on migrants’ happiness. In general, gaining a higher income does not lead to greater happiness, and so migration motivated by hope for economic gain might prove disappointing. When migrants move to wealthier countries they sometimes experience deterioration in comparative economic status, perhaps with unfortunate implications for their happiness. This chapter reviews the research assessing this proposition and briefly considers studies investigating happiness for people migrating in other (i.e., non-economic) modes. A consideration of policy implications argues that research on happiness and migration does not reinforce the case for a more restrictive approach to immigrant admissions policies.


Migration International migration Happiness Refugees Income comparisons 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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