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Internal Migration, Residential Mobility and Metropolitan Dynamics in Colombia

migració interna Colòmbia
This doctoral thesis analyses internal migration in Colombia during the period 1964-2005, together with residential mobility, individual sociodemographic and contextual factors associated with this phenomenon, and spatial components that affect and are affected by population movements in Colombian territory. It is the first study that covers a period of time long enough to visualize the medium and long term trends and intensity of this phenomenon, which peaked during the 1970s and reached its minimum at the beginning of this century.

Author: iStockphoto/bymandesigns.

The rates of internal migration in Colombia have been declining steadily in recent decades. For instance, in 1968-1973 19.4% of the population aged 5 or more years moved between municipalities, but in 2000-2005 this figure had fallen to less than half (7.6%). Despite the different implications that a decrease of migration has, the situation in the Colombian case is poorly understood and analyzed. This is due, among other reasons, to the lack of studies covering a period of time large enough for attaining visualize trends and intensity of medium and long-term phenomenon. In this analysis an extended period of time is considered, which previously had not worked fully in a unique study, offering a wide and varied view of the migration process in Colombia, and various geographic scales of analysis.
The issues that have motivated this thesis are related to three broad questions: What are the major trends and patterns of internal migration and residential mobility of the Colombian population during the period 1964-2005? What are the individual and contextual socio-demographic factors associated to internal migration and residential mobility of Colombians? and What are the spatial components involved and configured in Colombian territory from the movement of the population?
In general, the results of this thesis provide a comprehensive analysis of the geographical mobility of the Colombian population, both in time and in space. Mobility in Colombia has gone through an initial process of growth in the first period and reached their peak in the 1970s and then began to decrease to minimum values recorded at the beginning of this century. There are trends and patterns that have been maintained throughout the period of analysis that are strongly linked to the stages in the migrants’ life cycle. The factors associated with behavior and migratory intensity show own dynamics to each type of movement (long distance, short distance and residential mobility). These dynamics show a high variability across Colombian territory. After verifying the strong decrease in migration of long and short distance, exploration and analysis of more local movements and associated with residential mobility provides an unexplored field of study that may represent a kind of compensation in the intensity of mobility. With three quarters of the Colombian population living in urban areas, commuting between home and work is analyzed throwing as a result a proposal for delimitation and ranking of metropolitan and urban areas for the country.

Hernán G. Villaraga Orjuela
Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics (CED)
Department of Geography


“Migración Interna, Movilidad Residencial y Dinámicas Metropolitanas en Colombia”, doctoral thesis by Hernán G. Villarraga, supervised by Dr Juan Antonio Módenes, belonging to the PhD programme in Demography and read at the Department of Geography.

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