5 Cultural Consequences Of Migration

The cultural consequences of migration range from the exchange of ideas and knowledge, to possible clashes between the local population and newcomers, often with different customs or religions. In any case, these consequences vary if they are viewed from one field or the other: from the countries of origin or from the countries of destination.

We call migration those population movements between different countries or even within areas of the same nation. They usually occur for economic or security reasons, such as when certain people have to flee due to political or social persecution.

Main cultural consequences of migration

1-  Openness to new ideas

Migrants often take with them part of their culture, their way of life and their traditions.

Its establishment in a new country brings with it that part of that baggage is assimilated among the locals: from gastronomy to festivals. This helps to end the scourge of racism, often caused by fear of the unknown.

On the other hand, the immigrants themselves, on returning to their countries of origin, even temporarily, carry with it part of the ideas learned in their new place of residence, enriching their culture.

2-  Rejection of new ideas

Some inhabitants of the places of destination of the migrants absorb certain aspects of the culture of those who arrive, but there are also other sectors that reject any type of mixture or, according to them, contamination of their own culture.

However, it is not only the premises that can be completely closed. It is quite common for the same immigrants to live in restricted circles, in which they share their customs without opening up to those of the place where they live.

This, in extreme cases, leads to the creation of authentic ghettos.

3-  Loss of identity

Although it seems contradictory with the previous points, it is relatively frequent that migrants remain in a no man’s land.

For the locals, they remain foreigners, regardless of the degree of integration they demonstrate. But for their compatriots, they also become a foreign body when they return, having assimilated certain customs from outside.

There is one extreme to this situation: those immigrants who totally lose their cultural identity, either because they think it will be easier to adapt or because they are convinced. In the United States, it was common at a time that many Latin American migrants stopped speaking Spanish.

4-  Cultural problems due to diversity

Sometimes, the cultural differences are very high and, therefore, it is much more difficult to reach a peaceful coexistence.

In this regard, it can be noted that religion becomes, many times, the most difficult point to reconcile. This ends up causing both communities to close in on themselves, creating a very big social problem.

On the other hand, aspects such as the treatment of women, sexual freedom or difference of creed, can also create problems when there is a great gulf between how they live in each cultural reality.

It can be said that all migrants have the right to their cultural identity, but that the laws of the country in which they live are always above.

5-  Cultural exchange

There is no doubt that, throughout history, there are countless examples of how migrants have influenced the cultural, artistic and linguistic identities of their host places.

Musical mixes that create new genres, dances that jump the ocean or foods that become typical over time. For example, today no one imagines New York without Italian pizzas or Chinese restaurants.

This exchange is noticeable even in language, as new words are incorporated into normal street speech, an exchange that occurs in both directions.


  1. Globalization 101. Cultural Effects of Migration. Retrieved from globalization101.org
  2. Bowles, Samuel. Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural consequences of Markets and
    other Economic Institutions. (March 1998). Obtained from web.unitn.it
  3. Dinesh Bhugra. Migration, cultural bereavement and cultural identity. (2005) Retrieved from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  4. Lefringhauser, Katharina. Why immigration is good for culture. (August 24, 1016). Retrieved from newsweek.com
  5. Rodríguez Herrera, America. International Migration, its impact on the culture of the peasant sectors. Retrieved from ca2020.fiu.edu

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