Review of recent internal migration and labour market outcomes : Exploring the 2008 and 2010 National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) panel data in South Africa by Mbatha N.C and Roodt J. 2014 (Gugu Buthelezi)

This piece reviews an article published in the South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences on “Recent internal migration and labour market outcomes: Exploring the 2008 and 2010 National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) panel data in South Africa”.

The study investigated whether South African recent migrants from rural to urban areas experience relatively lower rates of participation in formal labour markets compared to local residents in urban communities. It concludes that these migrants are over-represented in the informal labour market and in the unemployment sector. This means that rural to urban migrants are less likely than locals to be found in formal employment and more likely to be found in informal employment and among the unemployed.

The researchers analysed the South African National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) panel datasets of 2008 and 2010. The study found that migrants in general experience positive outcomes in informal labour markets; they also experience positive outcomes in formal markets, which is contrary to expectations. The study also found that earned incomes are closely associated with migration decisions and educational qualifications (e.g. a matric certificate) for respondents between the ages of 30 and 60 years. Youth (15 to 30 years old) and senior respondents (over the age of 60) are the most disadvantaged in the labour market. The researchers conclude that migration is motivated by both push (to seek employment) and pull (existing networks or marriage at destination) factors.

The policy recommendations from the study are that the emerging patterns of rural to urban migration, both indicative and established are important for informing strategies aimed at creating employment and developing skills for the unemployed, migrants and especially the youth.

The article is available in the South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences.

Gugu Buthelezi is an Intern in the Directorate: Research Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Department of Higher Education and Training.


For further information contact Gugu Buthelezi at Buthelezi.G@dhet.gov.za