Mar 13th 2013

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Wednesday Word: Immigration or Emigration?

Photo Source: Nova Pictures/Flickr

Photo Source: Nova Pictures/Flickr

Have you ever immigrated to a country? If so, where did you emigrate from? Confused? “Immigration” and “emigration” are two words that are easily mixed up.

Immigration is the act of moving to a new country. Therefore, an immigrant is someone who has arrived in a new country. When you arrive at a large airport in the United States or Canada, you will often see signs for “Immigration.” These are the administrative offices for people (immigrants) who are arriving to live in the country and not just staying for a visit.

Emigration is the act of permanently leaving your country to settle in another country. You emigrate from the country you live in. For example, you may emigrate from (leave) Poland and move to live in Canada. Therefore, you are a new immigrant to Canada but an emigrant from Poland.

A quick way to remember the difference between these two very similar words is to think of them using their first letters. “Immigration” is the act of moving into a country. (The “i” stands for into.) Similarly, “emigration” concerns the act of moving away, or exiting, your county. (The “e” stands for exit.) By remembering the “e” and “i”, you won’t have a problem keeping these two words straight.

Has your family recently immigrated to or emigrated from somewhere?

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