Total migration


The map presents an overview of the total mobility of the Lao people during the 12 months prior to the census, those who leave or migrate out of their village and arrive in or migrate to other villages, districts, or provinces. In other words this map summarises the dynamics shown in the preceding two maps, Map C.3 and Map C.4.

The total migration is shown in five frequency classes distinguished by different shades of purple, in ranges from less than 0.5% to over 10% of villagers moving into or out of a village. A light purple dominates the map indicating that between less than 0.5% and up to 1% of village populations are mobile. The spatial scatter and the amount of medium blue represents migration rates of between 2 and 5% and appears as an open mosaic from Khammuane and going south to Champasack, Sekong and Attapeu. This is more pronounced along the Mekong highway. Only a few villages show a migration rate of between 5 and 10% of the population in the southernmost provinces.

In contrast, all of the provinces north of Khammuane are more markedly dotted with areas of in and out migrations; some are quite high with between 5 and 10% of the villagers on the move, and in some exceptional areas even more than 10%. Less intensive movements with a “normal” migration rate of 0.5 to 1% are observed in the province of Huaphanh, the south of Luangnamtha, in the northwest and west of Xayaboury, and in Phongsaly. Once again, some areas along the eastern border appear less inclined to migration; however, these are mountainous regions, inhabited by hill-dwelling tribal groups, often not conversant with the Lao language. Their movements are usually local as part of shifting cultivation cycles and therefore are not often recorded as true migration.

Summarising, the mobility of people during the 12 months preceding the Census indicates that between 1 and 5% of families move from their homes, while others return to their origins for example, to invest saved money, establish a small business or get married. Family and neighbourly bonds may influence the decision to move to a new place described as better and with the security of meeting family or friends already established there. Investigations have shown that male migrants move primarily for economic reasons, finding a job with better pay or nearer while female migrants are driven more by social arguments, family reunion, better schools and health services. It is not known how much pressure the annual population growth of about 125,000 new citizens is going to put on district and provincial towns, on land and natural resources and the need to migrate elsewhere.



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