Volume 43 - Article 45 | Pages 1335–1366

Childhood determinants of internal youth migration in Senegal

By Catalina Herrera Almanza, David E. Sahn

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Date received:02 Apr 2019
Date published:20 Nov 2020
Word count:7914
Keywords:internal migration, Senegal, youth


Background: Internal migration, mostly composed of young adults and the poor, constitutes the largest flow of people in developing countries. Few studies document the patterns and determinants of internal youth migration in sub-Saharan Africa.

Objective: This paper analyzes the socioeconomic determinants of the decisions of young adults to internally migrate in Senegal. We focus on whether their decisions to migrate are influenced by individual characteristics, as well as the circumstances in the households and communities where they grew up, and whether these factors are differentiated by gender.

Methods: Using a unique migration household survey in Senegal, we estimate multinomial logit models to analyze the role of childhood socioeconomic determinants in decisions to later migrate to rural and urban areas.

Results: We find that young people undertake mostly rural-to-rural and urban-to-urban migrations, and more than half of them are temporary migrants. We also find that the determinants are heterogeneous by gender and destination. The higher the fathers’ education, the more (less) likely are their daughters to move to urban (rural) areas. Young individuals who spend their childhood in better-off households are more likely to move to urban areas. The presence of younger siblings during childhood increases the propensity of moving to rural areas. Access to primary schools from the childhood residence decreases the likelihood of migrating to urban areas for both men and women.

Contribution: We contribute to the sparse literature on internal youth migration in developing countries by highlighting the role of family- and community-level characteristics during childhood in predicting later migration.

Author's Affiliation

Catalina Herrera Almanza - University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, United States of America [Email]
David E. Sahn - Cornell University, United States of America [Email]

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