Human Migration & Mobility


Students exploring an abandoned subway in Siberia

Students on a summer research trip in Siberia explore an abandoned subway.

Immigration, the growth of cities and globalization are increasingly interrelated processes. It is impossible to understand globalization without studying cities, which represent the centers of global interconnections.

Geography faculty have completed extensive work on immigration and diasporic entrepreneurship, particularly in the Washington, D.C., area. They have been awarded grants from the GW Center for International Business Education and Research, published dozens of academic articles, spoken on international panels and even contributed to guidelines on the topic to be distributed by the United Nations.

Some of the department's research on this topic is available to the public on the Globalization, Urbanization and Migration site, a collaborative research source and network that contains data sets, charts and maps on 150 metropolitan areas and more than 50 countries.

Visit the Globalization, Urbanization and Migration Research Site


"The Washington, D.C., area is the perfect place to study immigration. In the 1970s, 4 percent of our population in the metropolitan area was foreign born; today it’s 22 percent."

Elizabeth Chacko

Professor of Geography

Faculty in This Focus


Research Spotlight

A map showing the net domestic migration between 2000 and 2009 for select metropolitan areas.

Geographers Redefine Immigration Trends

For generations, many people believed that most immigrants to the United States were people with limited education or training who came for economic opportunity.