Demographic changes introduced by migration strongly affect economic activities and may thus trigger land-use changes. Migration has been usually overlooked in land use change modelling, even though it is recognized as a dominant demographic factor that influences land use. This paper analyzes to what extent migration patterns influence land-cover and land-use change at the watershed level. A RS-GIS and statistical approach was used to quantify and analyze both land-cover change and change in population per spatial unit. It was hypothesized that migration should exert a strong effect on land-cover change. The exercise was carried out in the Basin of Lake Cuitzeo, Michoacan, in Central Mexico, an area of high emigration to the USA, albeit showing a net increase in its total population. The expansion of scrubland areas at the expense of rain-fed agricultural land is associated with the abandonment of agriculturalland with poor soils. As a consequence, vegetal succession has been promoted and subtropical scrubland increased.