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Cross-National Comparisons of Internal Migration

Author

Listed:
  • Martin Bell

    () (Queensland Centre for Population Research, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, at the University of Queensland)

  • Salut Muhidin

    () (Queensland Centre for Population Research, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, at the University of Queensland)

Abstract

Internal migration is the most significant process driving changes in the pattern of human settlement across much of the world, yet remarkably few attempts have been made to compare internal migration between countries. Differences in data collection, in geography and in measurement intervals seriously hinder rigorous cross-national comparisons. We supplement data from the University of Minnesota IPUMS collection to make comparisons between 28 countries using both five year and lifetime measures of migration, and focusing particularly on migration intensity and spatial impacts. We demonstrate that Courgeau's k (Courgeau 1973) provides a powerful mechanism to transcend differences in statistical geography. Our results reveal widespread differences in the intensity of migration, and in the ages at which it occurs, with Asia generally displaying low mobility and sharp, early peaks, whereas Latin America and the Developed Countries show higher mobility and flatter age profiles usually peaking at older ages. High mobility is commonly offset by corresponding counter-flows but redistribution through internal migration is substantial in some countries, especially when computed as a lifetime measure. Time series comparisons show five year migration intensities falling in most countries (China being a notable exception), although lifetime data show more widespread rises due to age structure effects. Globally, we estimate that 740 million people, one in eight, were living within their home country but outside their region of birth, substantially above the commonly cited figure of 200 million international migrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Bell & Salut Muhidin, 2009. "Cross-National Comparisons of Internal Migration," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2009-30, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), revised Jul 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdr:papers:hdrp-2009-30
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    File URL: http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2009/papers/HDRP_2009_30.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:cai:popine:popu_p1973_28n1_0129 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. P H Rees, 1977. "The Measurement of Migration, from Census Data and other Sources," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 9(3), pages 247-272, March.
    3. repec:cai:popine:popu_p1973_28n3_0537 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. P H Rees, 1977. "The measurement of migration, from census data and other sources," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 9(3), pages 247-272, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dustmann, Christian & Okatenko, Anna, 2014. "Out-migration, wealth constraints, and the quality of local amenities," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 52-63.
    2. Lessmann, Christian, 2013. "Foreign direct investment and regional inequality: A panel data analysis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 129-149.
    3. Jaime Sobrino, 2013. "Analysing internal migration pathways in Mexico," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Urban Economies, chapter 16, pages 396-422 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Smriti Rao & Kade Finnoff, 2015. "Marriage Migration and Inequality in India, 1983–2008," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 41(3), pages 485-505, September.
    5. Eva-Maria Egger & Julie Litchfield, 2018. "Following in their footsteps: an analysis of the impact of successive migration on rural household welfare in Ghana," WIDER Working Paper Series 022, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Chauvin, Juan Pablo & Glaeser, Edward & Ma, Yueran & Tobio, Kristina, 2017. "What is different about urbanization in rich and poor countries? Cities in Brazil, China, India and the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 17-49.
    7. Martin Bell & Elin Charles-Edwards & Philipp Ueffing & John Stillwell & Marek Kupiszewski & Dorota Kupiszewska, 2015. "Internal Migration and Development: Comparing Migration Intensities Around the World," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 41(1), pages 33-58, March.
    8. Omar S. Arias & Carolina Sánchez-Páramo & María E. Dávalos & Indhira Santos & Erwin R. Tiongson & Carola Gruen & Natasha de Andrade Falcão & Gady Saiovici & Cesar A. Cancho, 2014. "Back to Work : Growing with Jobs in Europe and Central Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 16570.
    9. Kumar, Dr.B.Pradeep, 2016. "Contours of Internal Migration in India: Certain Experiences from Kerala," MPRA Paper 80586, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Jun 2016.
    10. Miguel, Edward & Hamory, Joan, 2009. "Individual Ability and Selection into Migration in Kenya," MPRA Paper 19228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Hagen-Zanker, Jessica, 2010. "Modest expectations: Causes and effects of migration on migrant households in source countries," MPRA Paper 29507, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. repec:eee:joecag:v:8:y:2016:i:c:p:19-27 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Internal migration; comparative analysis; migration intensity; redistribution; age; geography; lifetime; IPUMS;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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