Rural-Urban Migration and the Social Mobility of Individuals in the Republic of Korea: An Analysis of Life History Data

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Kwon, Tai-Hwan; Jun, Kwang Hee

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Population and Development Studies Center, Seoul National University
Korea Journal of Population and Development, Vol.19 No.2, pp. 113-134
This paper explores the impact of rural-urban migration on the social mobility of individuals, comparing rural-urban migrants with rural and urban natives. Using life history data from the 1983 Korean National Migration Survey, we examine "the pattern of migrant adjustment by estimating the first difference form of the autoregressive equation. We find a disruptive effect of rural-urban migration that disappears gradually after migration. This study provides strong evidence that most rural-urban migrants successfully adapt to urban life through upward occupational mobility relative to both rural and urban natives. This finding sharply contrasts with previous studies on the urban informal sector, which emphasize selective rural-urban migration or to inability of migrating individuals to adapt to city life. Moreover, this study shows that a principal cause of the rapid expansion of Seoul is that migrants are more likely to be upwardly mobile when they are destined for Seoul rather than other cities.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소)Development and SocietyKorea Journal of Population and Development Vol.19 No.1/2 (1990)
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