Mapping Migrant Journeys

These maps show the perilous journeys of migrants and refugees in their effort to traverse the planet in search of a better life.

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Statement from the Map Maker María Teresa Nagel:

We knew there were hundreds of people who were traveling through Costa Rica on a weekly basis in their quest to reach the United States of America. We had read the many articles available on the treacherously long journeys migrants and refugees were taking in order to escape poverty and violence, but nothing could have prepared us for sitting across from these brave individuals and listening to their stories.

As one of the field researchers conducting interviews in Costa Rica, I witnessed the exhaustion that plagued most of our participants. We spoke to Nepalis, Bangladeshis, Indians, Pakistanis, Cameroonians, Congolese, Ghanaians, and respondents with 21 other nationalities. Although each individual’s story was unique, they were all bound by the dangerous journey they had endured.

Beyond sharing the findings of our research, we felt compelled to invite readers into these migrants’ and refugees’ journeys by making their financial biographies available in the format of a short story. Moreover, we saw the need to convey these stories in a way that would be more visually appealing to those interested in the perils of long-journey migration, so we resolved to create these maps.

Nepal to Nicaragua 2

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A man struggles through nine countries and later chooses to return home: part 2. (Map by Maria Teresa Nagel)

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