Determinants of Internal Migration in Africa: Does Human Capital Necessarily End up in Cities? Comparative Analysis of Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems

Carren Ginsburg, University of the Witwatersrand
Mark Collinson, University of the Witwatersrand
Philippe Bocquier, Université Catholique de Louvain

Education is a major determinant of migration, with studies suggesting that human capital accumulates in urban areas at the expense of rural areas. Using longitudinal data representing approximately 500 000 people living in nine HDSSs, this paper aims to measure the effect of education on in- and out-migration by age-group and sex, over the period 2009 to 2011. Between 7% and 27% of these local populations are moving in- or out- of the HDSS over this period; among young adults, this may exceed 30%. Education is positively associated with both in- and out-migration in urban Kenya, however, education effect has no clear pattern in Burkina Faso. We conclude that education is not necessarily linearly related to migration, and the educated are not always more likely to migrate compared to the less educated. Migration systems in Sub-Saharan Africa vary depending on regional contexts, leading to different patterns of human capital redistribution.

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Presented in Session 121: Internal Migration in Developing Countries