Many Nubians have left their homeland due to internal and external reasons. Agricultural resources in Old Nubia have always been limited. Therefore, the development of a complementary system of economic organization, consisting of consuming households in the villages and producing units in the cities, which has enabled the society to survive as a whole despite these limitations, was a sensible step. The out-migration of large parts of the male population became the dominant survival strategy, particularly over the last three centuries. Nubian men went in big numbers to the bigger cities, such as Cairo, Alexandria, Ismaelia, Khartoum and Omdurman to work primarily in service occupations, such as doormen, waiters and cooks. The next wave of labor migration was initiated by the building of the Aswan Dam (1902) and its subsequent heightening (1912 and 1933), which led to the inundation of more agricultural land and Nubian settlements. The building of the Aswan High Dam (1971) effected the Nubians in a dramatic way. One of the main direct consequences was the inundation of most of Egyptian Nubia and the Sudanese Nubian Halfa region by an artificially created lake that finally extended some 550 km to the south. Some 100.000 people were directly affected by relocation, since their settlements and their farm land were completely flooded. The evacuation of the Egyptian Nubians took place between October 1963 and June 1964. Nearly all people were relocated to a newly established irrigation scheme in the vicinity of the town Kom Ombo, some 50 km north of Aswan. The territory called New Nubia is located on the east bank of the Nile, but in a distance of three to ten kilometers to the river and consists of 43 villages. The settlements have been arranged in the same order as in Old Nubia, but they are in contrast to the past now located in much closer physical proximity. The administrative center of New Nubia is a town, called Nasr City, which was established at the time.

The affected people on Sudanese territory, however, were settled in the Khashm al-Girba area of Eastern Sudan, some 700 km away from their homeland, close to the Eritrean border. To a greater extent than the Egyptian relocates of the Kom Ombo area, the Sudanese were transferred to an indeed alien social, ecological and climatic environment. Thus, the adaption to new life proved to be more difficult for the Sudanese relocates than for their Egyptian fellowmen. The transfer of the population of the Halfa region to Khashm al-Girba started in January 1964 and was complete in April 1967. 33 (25) new villages were built. A town, called New Halfa, was placed in the geographical middle of the scheme to develop into the main administrative center.

The Nubians, generally, felt as the victims of national political and economic development, sacrificed for the sake of others and left to cope with the diverse challenges of their new and partly adverse environment.

After the resettlement the Nubian labor migrant movement was directed to the urban centers of Arab oil-exporting countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Libya.

Migration to Western countries during the 1980s has gradually increased. Thus, today Nubian communities are also located in Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Canada and the USA. Although it is very difficult to estimate the total number of Nubians as well as the extent to which they have left their villages to settle in other communities inside or outside Egypt and the Sudan, the following conservative figures seem to be somewhat reasonable for the presence:

*A total of 1.100.000 Nubians living in Egypt and the Sudan as well as abroad.

* A number of 300.000 Nubians of Egyptian and Sudanese origin in Egypt.

* A number of 700.000 Nubians – almost exclusively Sudanese nationals – in the Sudan.

* A number of 100.000 Nubian migrants of Egyptian and Sudanese nationality in various host countries.