Youth Migration in Indonesia: Decision to Move and to Choose Destination Areas

By Malamassam, Meirina Ayumi | The Indonesian Journal of Geography, June 2016 | Go to article overview

Youth Migration in Indonesia: Decision to Move and to Choose Destination Areas


Malamassam, Meirina Ayumi, The Indonesian Journal of Geography


1. Introduction

In many countries, young people dominate migration flows and they are known as the most mobile age group. In Indonesia, recent census by Indonesian's Statistics Bureau [BPS, 2011] reported that about 30 percent of migrant population in this country belonged to 15-24 age group population. The movement of the young people causes the population distribution imbalance among regions in this country, particularly between urban and rural areas.

This situation is illustrated by the opposite trend of young people growth rate in urban and rural area. From 1990 to 2000, youth population growth rate in urban areas was 3.9 per cent in contrast with 0.3 per cent in rural areas [BPS, 1990; BPS, 2000]. On one hand, the youth movement brings relief in population pressure and population density in rural areas. On the other hand, it causes higher burden of population in urban areas and higher competition in accessing urban facilities.

At the individual and family level, migration is considered as an effort by young people to pursue better opportunities to improve their quality of life. Meanwhile, at the regional level, the youth migration will result in high human capital stock in destination areas at the cost of loss in high-skilled young population in the areas of origin [Faggian et al., 2007; Franklin, 2003; Winters, 2011]. This is because youth migration, especially the skilled and educated ones, can trigger the disparity of human resource development and inequality of regional development in a country.

Previous studies on migration found that the decision to migrate is highly dependent on the migrants' life aspirations as well as existing opportunities to fulfill the aspirations both in origin and destination areas. For young people, particularly, the decision to migrate can be attributed to life-cycle events related to their adolescence age, such as attending higher education, entering labor force or changing marital status [Pardede & Muhidin, 2006]. Those events also act as major motivation for young people in determining their migration destinations [Muhidin, 2003].

Indonesia is an interesting case for studies on youth migration issues. This country is currently facing challenges in its human development, related to imbalanced distribution of high-skilled youth population among regions. While many studies on this topic have been conducted in other countries, such as the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom [Corcoran et al., 2010; Faggian et al., 2007; Franklin, 2003; Winters, 2011], little has been known about the youth migration in Indonesia, particularly aspects related to decision-making process of youth migration.

The flows of youth migration depend on many factors. This study examines the factors affecting youth's decision to migrate and the factors influence their choice of destination areas in Indonesia. The findings of this study will contribute to the theoretical framework on the discussion of youth migration issues in Indonesia, through the identification of determining factors of youth migration in this country. The findings, particularly, can indicate the youth migration's impact on population distribution and human development disparity in this country.

This paper begins by positioning this study within the existing youth migration literatures.

Decision to migrate by young people

A theory of migration by Lee [1966] pointed out that there are four aspects influencing the decision to migrate, namely factors associated with areas of origin, factors associated with destination area, intervening obstacles and personal factors. The theory showed that the same sets on factors associated with origin and destination areas could operate differently in different people, because different people experience different intervening obstacles and personal issues. Thus, those four aspects work together in differentiating those who decide to migrate and those who does not. …

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