Internal migration is from rural to urban areas. By 1982, up to4.5 million people had been displaced as a result of occasional drought, past civil strife, and border fighting. In 1984–85, over 600,000 northern peasants were resettled, forcibly if necessary, in 77 sites in the more fertile west and south. Meanwhile, over 2.8 million rural inhabitants, mostly Oromo, were moved to collective villages. As the war for control of Ethiopia intensified between 1989 and 1991, more people were displaced.
Since the change of government in 1991, 970,000 Ethiopian refugees have returned home from neighboring countries. As of 1997, there were still 70,000 Ethiopian refugees in neighboring countries. There were 60,000 in eastern Sudan, 5,700 in Kenya, 2,500 in Djibouti, and 450 in Yemen. By November 1995, the UNHCR had repatriated 31,617 Ethiopian refugees from Djibouti. Between 1993 and 1996, the UNHCR repatriated 62,000 from Sudan. In 1997, UNHCR had started planning the airlift of around 4,400 Ethiopian refugees remaining in Kenya.
As of March 1997, Ethiopia was home to more than 338,000 refugees, settled in 12 camps and urban areas. Of these, 285,000 were from Somalia, 35,500 from Sudan, 8,000 from Djibouti, and 8,600 from Kenya. In February 1997, the UNHCR started to repatriate Somalis; 2,600 refugees had returned to northwestern Somalia by the end of March. Repatriation of Somalis, and Sudanese continued in 2002. The total number of migrants in that year was 660,000. In 2000, the net migration rate was -0.1 migrants per 1,000 population for Ethiopia, a significant change from 3.5 per 1,000 in 1990. Ethiopians who fled to Sudan due to war and famine continued to return home in 2002.