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The Socioeconomic and Health Status of Rural–Urban Migrants in Indonesia


  • Budy P. Resosudarmo

    (SMERU Research Institute)

  • Asep Suryahadi
  • Raden Purnagunawan
  • Athia Yumna
  • Asri Yusrina


This paper seeks to answer whether or not ruralurban migrants make it, i.e. whether or not they are able to, at least, achieve a socioeconomic and health status similar to that of their nonmigrant counterparts living in the same city. Using specifically collected data on rural urban migration, this study finds that, after controlling for various characteristics, migrants household incomes are significantly higher than those of nonmigrants. They also have a significantly lower probability to be absolutely poor than nonmigrants. Their health performance and that of their children are also no different from the health status of nonmigrants. There is only weak, and not robust, evidence that children of migrants have a higher probability of being significantly underweight. Their childrens educational performances do not lag behind. In fact, for lifetime migrants, there is evidence that their childrens educational attainments are significantly better than those of nonmigrants children. Therefore it can be inferred that the process of rural-to-urban migration in Indonesia is not a harmful process. In fact, it has been found to be beneficial to the socioeconomic condition of the migrants. It is a way to provide a better life for poor rural people. To allow this process to happen naturally, the government needs to reduce unnecessary barriers to rural people who want to move to urban areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Budy P. Resosudarmo & Asep Suryahadi & Raden Purnagunawan & Athia Yumna & Asri Yusrina, 2009. "The Socioeconomic and Health Status of Rural–Urban Migrants in Indonesia," Development Economics Working Papers 23042, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:develo:23042

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mihails Hazans, 2004. "Does Commuting Reduce Wage Disparities?," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(3), pages 360-390.
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    3. Au, Chun-Chung & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2006. "How migration restrictions limit agglomeration and productivity in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 350-388, August.
    4. Goldsmith, Peter D. & Gunjal, Kisan & Ndarishikanye, Barnabe, 2004. "Rural-urban migration and agricultural productivity: the case of Senegal," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 31(1), pages 33-45, July.
    5. Hill,Hal, 2000. "The Indonesian Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521663670, October.
    6. Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2001. "The Two-Tier Labor Market in Urban China: Occupational Segregation and Wage Differentials between Urban Residents and Rural Migrants in Shanghai," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 485-504, September.
    7. Fields, Gary S., 1975. "Rural-urban migration, urban unemployment and underemployment, and job-search activity in LDCs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 165-187, June.
    8. Robert Gibbs & John Cromartie, 2007. "Education's Effect on Poverty: The Role of Migration ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 437-445.
    9. Budy Resosudarmo & Ari Kuncoro, 2006. "The Political Economy of Indonesian Economic Reforms: 1983-2000," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 341-355.
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    11. J. Edward Taylor & Scott Rozelle & Alan deBrauw, 1999. "Migration, Remittances, and Agricultural Productivity in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 287-291, May.
    12. Mazumdar, Dipak, 1976. "The Rural-Urban Wage Gap, Migration, and the Shadow Wage," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 406-425, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Danzer, Alexander M. & Dietz, Barbara & Gatskova, Ksenia & Schmillen, Achim, 2014. "Showing off to the new neighbors? Income, socioeconomic status and consumption patterns of internal migrants," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 230-245.

    More about this item


    Indonesia; socioeconomic status; health; education;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General


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