Rural-Urban Migration in Colombia

by T. P. Schultz

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The greatest effect of Colombia's postwar population explosion has been a massive migration from rural to urban areas. Using a model, this study explores the causes of interregional migration. Massive interregional shifts of population are a dynamic adjustment to imbalances between regional supply and demand for labor. Other factors affect the decision to migrate: the cost of migration; the migrant's educational level; and, in Colombia, the level of violence within a local region. Migration to the cities is also sex and age selective, drawing forth young, able-bodied, and unencumbered workers--particularly women, who often have more to gain than men from leaving traditional rural society. The proposed model interprets local age- and sex-specific rates of interregional migration as approximately linear functions for six independent variables: local wage rates in agriculture; two measures of education; the estimated local rate of population increase with no migration; the level of regional political violence; and distance to the nearest large town. 25 pp. Ref.

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