Internal migration and development: evidence from 71 countries

Martin Bell, University of Queensland
Elin Charles-Edwards, University of Queensland
Philipp Ueffing, University of Queensland
Marek Kupiszewski, Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization PAS
Dorota Kupiszewska, International Organization for Migration (IOM)
John Stillwell, University of Leeds
Yu Zhu, Fujian Normal University

With completion of the first demographic transition in more than half of countries around the globe, migration, both internal and international, is now the dominant process driving change in national settlement patterns. While considerable progress has been made in measuring international migration, internal migration statistics remain conspicuous by their absence from demographic datasets. This paper draws on data from the IMAGE project (Internal Migration Around the GlobE) to address this deficit by constructing the first comprehensive league table of internal migration intensities, defined to include all permanent changes of address, for countries around the globe. As only a small number of countries collect these data directly, we apply the method proposed by Courgeau et al. (2012) which models the relationship between migration intensity and the average number of households per zone at various spatial scales. Utilising data from the IMAGE repository, coupled with a flexible spatial aggregation facility, we estimate overall migration intensities for one and five year intervals for 71 countries. Five year intensities, calculated for 37 countries in total, range between 10.5 per cent for the Philippines to over 50 percent for Fiji, New Zealand and South Korea. One year intensities, calculated for 41 countries, deliver estimates ranging from 2.5 per cent in Slovenia to 19.1 per cent in Iceland. Explanation for these differences has been sought, inter alia, in historical, structural, cultural and economic factors. We examine the links between development and migration intensity through simple correlations and multivariate analysis using a range of demographic, economic and social variables. Results show strong associations between internal migration intensities and different facets of development, but underline their complex interactions over time.

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Presented in Session 17: Internal migration and urbanization