Push and Pull Factors

What are push factors?

push factor is something that makes a person leave an area. In many cases, this is due to someone risking something if they stay in that area. Some cases do involve this happening voluntarily though.

Examples of push factors can include:

  • Lack of services
  • Lack of safety
  • High crime rate
  • Poverty

What are pull factors?

pull factor is something that attracts a person to a different area. These factors are also known as place utility where the desirability of a place is what attracts people to the area.

Examples of pull factors can include:

  • Higher employment rate
  • More wealth
  • Better services
  • Lower crime rate

Real-world Example

For this example, we will use Newcastle from London.

Cheap housing so will be able to buy own homeCost of living expense down south
Long commute to workFamily live in Newcastle
London may have a higher crime rate in some areasNewcastle has a lower crime rate, in some areas

How to identify Push & Pull factors


Newspapers are an excellent historical source because they can give you an insight into what the activity was like in the area they were living in at the time and could give you some possible Push factors. Incidentally, looking at other newspapers to where they moved to might give you possible Pull factors as well.

Look-up the year they moved

Similarly, to newspapers, events at the time could lead to you ñnding both Push and Pull factors.

Look at other families

Families in similar situations may have had the same Push and Pull factors as your family as to why they moved and can give you material for further reading and research.

Maps & Land records

These could be especially useful in wartime situations – people may have moved especially due to issues arising because of war i.e. The Blitz during the Second World War.

Why we need to know about Push and Pull factors

Families move around and we often lose them, so by understanding push and pull factors we understand two things

  • Why they move
  • Where they move to.

These reasons all link back to the types of Push and Pull factors themselves i.e. Someone moved from London to Newcastle because Newcastle offered more affordable housing.Download this as a powerpoint.