Human cross-border migration has been observed to be the defining characteristic of humanity in the contemporary era. Such is the normality of migration for people that the term mobility is offered to refer to this fundamental element of the human condition.
Almost every country in the world is now affected by migration, with the UN estimating about 1 billion migrants worldwide in 2009-10; in other words, one in seven people on the planet were living outside their country or region of origin. In addition to long-term displacements, many persons migrate on a seasonal or temporary basis too.
This mobility has diverse causes and wide-ranging effects, is conditioned by a multitude of concrete and more abstract forces, and is experienced very differently by different people. The study of migration and mobility, and its consequence of social diversity, is a key component of our understanding of almost every social and political phenomenon in our world today.
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