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Have Migration Patterns in Post-Apartheid South Africa Changed?


  • Dorrit Posel

    (Dorrit Posel is Associate Professor, School of Economics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4001, South Africa. Email:


In post-apartheid South Africa, it may have been expected that circular or temporary internal labour migration would have been replaced by the permanent settlement of Africans at places of employment. However, the evidence suggests that temporary internal labour migration in the country has not declined; rather it appears to have increased, particularly because of the rise in female labour migration. Africans continue to migrate, mostly from households in rural areas, to work or to look for work and they continue to retain ties with, and membership in, their households of origin. These findings resonate with those from recent research on cross-border migration into South Africa: many people entering South Africa do not see themselves as immigrants who wish to settle permanently in the country, but as circular migrants. More research is needed to understand the nature of, and reasons for, this temporary labour migration in and into the country.

Suggested Citation

  • Dorrit Posel, 2004. "Have Migration Patterns in Post-Apartheid South Africa Changed?," Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, , vol. 15(3-4), pages 277-292, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jinter:v:15:y:2004:i:3-4:p:277-292

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    Cited by:

    1. Hall Katharine & Posel Dorrit, 2019. "Fragmenting the Family? The Complexity of Household Migration Strategies in Post-apartheid South Africa," IZA Journal of Development and Migration, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 10(2), pages 22-48, August.
    2. Janina Isabel Steinert & Lucie Dale Cluver & G. J. Melendez-Torres & Sebastian Vollmer, 2018. "One Size Fits All? The Validity of a Composite Poverty Index Across Urban and Rural Households in South Africa," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 51-72, February.
    3. Carol S Camlin & Victoria Hosegood & Marie-Louise Newell & Nuala McGrath & Till Bärnighausen & Rachel C Snow, 2010. "Gender, Migration and HIV in Rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 5(7), pages 1-10, July.
    4. Johan Fourie, 2020. "The settlers of South Africa and the expanding frontier," Working Papers 14/2020, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    5. Bennett, Rachel & Waterhouse, Philippa, 2018. "Work and family transitions and the self-rated health of young women in South Africa," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 203(C), pages 9-18.
    6. Dieter von Fintel & Eldridge Moses, 2017. "Migration and gender in South Africa: following bright lights and the fortunes of others?," Working Papers 09/2017, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics, revised 2018.
    7. Jacqueline Mosomi, 2019. "Distributional changes in the gender wage gap in the post-apartheid South African labour market," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-17, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Hall Katharine & Posel Dorrit, 2019. "Fragmenting the Family? The Complexity of Household Migration Strategies in Post-apartheid South Africa," IZA Journal of Development and Migration, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 10(2), pages 22-48, August.
    9. Waldo Krugell & W.a. Naudé & Stephanie Rossouw, 2000. "The Quality of Metropolitan City Life in South Africa," Regional and Urban Modeling 283600049, EcoMod.
    10. Jasmin Jakoet, 2006. "Assimilation of Immigrants to the Cape Town Labour Market," SALDRU Working Papers 3, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.

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