Migration is a normal and common human occurrence. Moving to seek new opportunities, new lands, new freedoms, fleeing persecution or economic stagnation is a phenomenon that has shaped and continues to shape human societies across the world. Migration from rural to urban centres is certainly a feature of the modern nation-state, with economic and other shocks sometimes playing an important role in the decision to move. Household shocks are an increasingly important feature of Melanesian life. They include idiosyncratic shocks (specific to the household) such as the loss of a garden to flooding or the death or illness of a household member as well as covariate (or community wide) shocks such as large natural disasters and price hikes of commodities that households have become dependent upon
Much migration is now urban migration. Migrants to urban areas can gain employment allowing them to remit money back to their families in rural areas. Employment opportunities though can be limited resulting in migrants simply moving from rural to urban poverty or hardship. Family reasons, the loss of a job or a shortage of money can lead to return migration, with people living in towns and cities deciding to return to the rural areas in which they had previously lived.