Skip to content

The role of migration in ending extreme poverty- Thematic paper

Migration is a growing global issue and yet the relationship between extreme poverty and migration is complex and thinking in this area is continuing to evolve. This paper provides a high-level summary of the latest, well-evidenced research on measures to address extreme poverty amidst high rates of migration, and to identify priority areas where further research would contribute value.

Channels through which migration is expected to affect efforts to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030:

  • Migration can be a way out of poverty when it is driven by the search for better social and economic opportunities.
  • Forced migration or migration on adverse terms, such as bonded labour, can be a route to impoverishment.
  • Attention to migration is largely focused on international migration, which is highly visible, but those living in extreme poverty are more likely to migrate within their countries of origin.

These channels, and the magnitude of their impacts on poverty, differ by country context.

There have been recent efforts to renew focus and understanding of migration for promoting sustainable development. Migration is the theme of the World Bank’s 2023 World Development Report, which proposes a new framework to maximise the development impacts of migration. While it makes an important contribution and may help to reimagine the relationship between poverty and migration, it is largely speculative – given the limited data and evidence it must draw on.

Available at: