Redefining Migration: Gender and Temporary Labor Migration in South Africa

Jill Williams, University of Colorado at Boulder
Gayatri Singh, Brown University
Benjamin D Clark, University of the Witwatersrand
Mark Collinson, University of the Witwatersrand

We use data from the Agincourt Demographic and Health Surveillance System in rural South Africa to investigate sex differences in temporary labor migration from 1992-2006. Using a gendered lens we first redefine temporary labor migration to allow for sex differences in labor and residency patterns. Changing the definition of temporary labor migration increases the incidence of temporary labor migration and clarifies sex differences in the recent circular migration trends in South Africa. We then examine sex differences in migration transitions and find that adult women have a much higher transition rate than adult men. This finding suggests that women’s temporary migrations are more tenuous than men’s and may be differentially related to household livelihood strategies.

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Presented in Session 119: Migration and Gender