In a paper given to the Royal Statistical Society of Britain in 1885, the statistician E.G. Ravenstein sought to expound the laws of population movement. He identified seven laws:
1. The great body of migrants only proceeds a short distance and number decreases as distance increases.
2. The inhabitants of the country immediately surrounding a town of rapid growth flock into it; the gaps thus left in the rural population, are filled up by migrants from more remote districts, until the attractive force of one of our rapidly growing cities make its influence, step by step, over the most remote corner of the kingdom.
3. The process of dispersion is the inverse of that of absorption and exhibits similar features.
4. Each main current of migration produces a compensating counter-current.
5. Migrants proceeding long distances go by preference to one of the great centres of commerce or industry.
6. The natives of towns are less migratory than those of the rural parts of the country and incidence of migration increases with increasing technological developments.
7. Females are more migratory than males over short distance.