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INTERNAL MIGRATION IN THE COUNTRIES OF ASIA: LEVELS, AGES, AND SPATIAL IMPACTS

ABSTRACT
The countries of Asia have undergone an epoch of rapid demographic change. While considerable effort has been exerted in the study of fertility and mortality, studies of internal migration are comparatively few, despite its major role in redistributing populations within countries. This paper reports on a comparative study of internal migration for 30 countries in Asia, drawing on a common quantitative framework developed in the IMAGE project (www.imageproject.com.au). Three aspects of internal migration are explored: intensity, age profile, and spatial impact, drawing on both recent and lifetime data to explore current patterns and historical trends. Comparisons reveal that internal migration intensities, while on average lower than in other parts of the world, are highly variable across countries. This is connected to key indicators of development but also to individual countries’ progression through the urban transition. Migration intensities in Asia peak at an earlier age and are more concentrated than in other parts of the world. Analysis of spatial impacts highlights the contribution of migration to urbanisation throughout Asia, but also the enduring impacts of conflict, forced displacements, and government policies on national migration systems.