Networks versus Need: Drivers of Urban Out-Migration in the Brazilian Amazon

Heather F. Randell, Brown University

As urbanization rates rise globally it becomes increasingly important to understand the factors associated with urban out-migration. In this paper we examine the drivers of urban out-migration among young adults in two medium-sized cities in the Brazilian Amazon – Altamira and Santarém – focusing on the roles of social capital, human capital, and socioeconomic deprivation. We use an event history model to examine factors associated with migration from the two cities and a binary logit model to understand factors associated with remitting behavior. We find that in Altamira migration tends to be an individual-level opportunistic strategy fostered by family networks, while in Santarém migration tends to be a household-level strategy driven by socioeconomic deprivation. These results illustrate that urban out-migration in Brazil is a diverse social process, and that the relative roles of migrant networks versus economic deprivation can function quite differently between geographically proximate but historically and socioeconomically distinct cities.

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Presented in Session 159: Networks and Risk Aversion: Micro-Level Drivers of Migration Patterns