Household and Spatial Drivers of Migration Patterns in Africa: Evidence from Four Countries

This paper uses surveys from Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania to examine the drivers of internal migration

Abstract

The overarching message that has emerged from the growth literature is that a transition from the low-productivity agricultural sector to the high-productivity manufacturing sector is necessary for structural change. Although Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced substantial growth rates in the last 50 years, previous studies suggest that rural-urban migration made only a minor contribution to such growth. Lack of labor demand from the modern sector and a mismatch of worker skills with urban labor markets led to informal employment creation throughout the geographic continuum.

To provide greater insights into the motives, opportunities, and constraints of migration, the authors use 4 nationally representative panel surveys collected in Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, and Tanzania to test hypotheses regarding the drivers of internal migration:

Although there is a weak correlation between land and migration in Ethiopia, the authors find migrants mostly diversify out of agriculture. Employment opportunities provided by market accessibility and economic growth dictate migration patterns in Malawi and Nigeria. Barriers due to distance drive predominantly rural-rural moves in Malawi and Tanzania. Findings in the analysis of all countries support a trapped population dynamic in conflict areas rather than support an ex ante insurance migration motive.

Citation

Valerie Mueller, Emily Schmidt, Nancy Lozano-Gracia, Siobhan Murray (2016) Household and Spatial Drivers of Migration Patterns in Africa: Evidence from Four Countries.

Household and Spatial Drivers of Migration Patterns in Africa: Evidence from Four Countries

Published 23 February 2016