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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Leaving my homeland for my homeland: Exploring Bangladesh immigration

I currently live in Massachusetts—I moved here just this past January. Arriving here has stirred within me a greater sense of purpose and drive to contribute to my home country of Bangladesh.  

By coming here not as a tourist, but staying here and leading a regular life, I have some differences that I’ve noticed. For example, in 2023 the weather was unpredictable. It rained suddenly and was sometimes too hot; then in winter, it was sometimes too cold, and other times, not even as cold as a refrigerator. That’s not all I’ve noticed, though.  

Until 2020, the rate of people immigrating from Bangladesh to the U.S. was steadily climbing. According to mdpi.com, since 1981, the number of Bangladeshi immigrants has skyrocketed from 15,191 in 1981 to 65,997 in 1991, 106,740 in 2001 and 145,307 in 2011 [1].  

Thirteen thousand five hundred sixty three Bangladeshi students chose to study in the United States during the 2022-2023 academic year, according to the 2023 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, and in 2022, about 65 percent of people moved to the U.S. with an F1 visa [2]. In fact, the number of Bangladeshi students studying anywhere abroad has tripled in the past 15 years, despite a university boom in Bangladesh [3].

The causes of migration are mainly economic, and are increasingly related to climate change, according to interviews I performed with the ANTH 277 class in Spring 2024 [4]. The International Organization for Migration also found that people who move from Bangladesh to the U.S. cite a need to live a healthy lifestyle with healthy food, better weather and less pollution [5].

The rate of human growth in Bangladesh is more than 1.1 percent. Bangladesh is the eighth-most populated country in the world; almost 2.2 percent of the world’s population lives in Bangladesh, and the total population is about 174,701,021, The Daily Star reports [6]. Overpopulation also contributes to pollution. 

Unsolvable problems arise from trying to ensure people’s basic needs are met. More food, more space and more facilities are needed; large spaces are needed for homes, hospitals, educational institutions and more, and even more land is needed to cultivate enough food for everyone. Cultivating more food requires too many chemical products, which are harmful for people’s health. These farming practices are also causing the groundwater to become polluted. 

The food that gets imported from other countries is expensive, and not nearly as healthy. There is also no chance of having large parcels of land for agriculture—rather, they get smaller day by day. Earning an average amount and living healthily is quite hard, as the economic balance is not good enough in our country. Most of the people who plan to come back to Bangladesh change their mind, thinking that with the squeezed job market, they will not be able to get the right position and won’t be paid enough. 

For this reason, our government, alongside the government of India, announced many programs, but people didn’t adopt these latest programs. Those who are financially stable are trying hard to move to other countries. They are ready to use all their savings and energy to survive there, despite other cultural challenges and sometimes immigration problems.

People who have immigrated to the U.S. also said that rules and regulations for life and the environment are extremely strict in Bangladesh. The environment and their health make it easier for them to work in the U.S.  

However, the immigrants also felt disconnected from their roots. They said it is not easy to visit their family, who are living far away from them, on top of their busy everyday lives. If our country gets more cautious and mitigates the underlying issues that cause people to migrate to other countries, it could become a good place to live, like first world countries.  

Nowadays, those not able to move to any Western countries are moving to countries in Asia, which also provide visas and less financial inequality [7]. The government is not the only solution; people need to get inspired by themselves, too. Supporting and developing our own movement in our country can produce change, and finally make Bangladesh a country with a great, shining future.


[1] https://www.mdpi.com/2313-5778/7/4/81  

[2] https://www.applyboard.com/applyinsights-article/new-us-student-visa-totals-just-reached-a-6-year-high-heres-why  

[3] https://www.thedailystar.net/news/bangladesh/news/number-students-going-abroad-triples-15-years-despite-university-boom-3397431  

[4] https://businesspostbd.com/epaper/post/2024/01/02/08/08_103  

[5] https://www.iom.int/news/iom-migration-research-series-no-31-migration-and-climate-change  

[6] https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/views/news/world-population-8-billion-key-messages-bangladesh-3168781  

[7] https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/asian-immigrants-united-states-2014