Most migration literature focuses on large scale movements of people across country borders, while the internal
migration trends of countries are commonly neglected, despite the fact that the understanding of internal migration trends
is crucial for planning the future for a country. In Iraq a major reason for migration has been security - a direct result of its
turbulent history since the 1980's. More recently, the Kurdistan Region in Iraq has stabilized which has led to more
voluntary population movements, such as economic migration. This paper seeks to investigate the internal and external
movements in Duhok Governorate, Kurdistan, Iraq, during the past decade. This is done by looking at reasons for
migration, characteristics of the migrants, and the time for migration. Data on migration, environment, and rural
livelihoods were collected through 606 interviews in rural villages in Duhok Governorate. Additionally, 600 interviews
were conducted in the urban areas of Duhok, Semel, Zakho, and Amedi, in order to capture the rural to urban migration.
The study found economic reasons to be the main motivation for migration, closely followed by family/marriage.
Contradicting common notions of urbanization, there is a trend of urban to rural migration for households. Individuals,
however, are more prone to migrate abroad or from rural to urban areas. Environmental migration is low and can be
explained by the low dependence on agriculture in the region.