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The adjustment of migrants in large cities of less developed countries: some comparative observations.
In: Goldscheider C, ed. Urban migrants in developing nations: patterns and problems of adjustment. Boulder, Colorado, Westview Press, 1983. 233-53.Results of 4 case studies of Indonesia, South Korea, Iran, and Colombia may be compared along 3 broad dimensions of migrant adjustment to urban places: labor force, including employment and occupational patterns; housing, consumption, and income; and social and psychological elements of adjustment. Occupational changes and the economic mobility of migrants have important consequences for other forms of urban modern adjustments. Better jobs, higher incomes, quality housing, and increased consumer consumption are directly linked. These, in turn, are connected to social and social-psychological adjustments as well as to educational increases for the children of migrants. Occupational changes thus become the pivot around which migration and modernization revolve. Whatever the specific pattern, the relationships between migration and occupation are intertwined in complex ways with the economic development and social modernization of less developed countries. Comparative findings on occupational prestige lead to 3 conclusions: migrants are not particularly disadvantaged in terms of job prestige relative to comparable lifetime urban residents; occupational differences between migrants and natives reflect the background disadvantages of migrants, rather than the impact of migration per se; and over time, migrants attain the occupational levels that are consistent with their skills, education, and experience. These findings, almost without exception, emerge from all 4 case studies. In Korea and Iran, some elements of urban housing and neighborhoods quality are unrelated to migrant status. In Seoul, migrants and natives live in the same quality neighborhoods, consistent with their income and educational levels. Neither recency of migration nor migrant status was specifically associated with neighborhood quality. Parallel findings were reported for migrants to Tehran. 2 other measures of housing showed significant differences between migrants and lifetime urban residents: number of rooms per person and home ownership. Clearly migration status has a significant effect on some aspects of housing quality in Seoul and Tehran. Migrants to Surabaya are no worse off in terms of housing than those born in city. All migrants seem to improve their housing over time, yet 2 subgroups of migrants are particularly disadvantaged: migrants of farm background and the low income self employed. Regarding personal adjustment, defined in terms of traditionalism and satisfaction indexes, the case studies for Korea, Indonesia, and Colombia show little variation among migrant groups or between migrants and lifetime urban residents. The comparative examination of these studies suggests several interrelated, yet independent, dimensions of adjustment. Migrants adjust in some ways and not in other, while some migrants adjust better than others. Adjustment varies with the social, economic, political, and cultural context of urban places and changes over time. The overwhelming impression gained from these studies is that migration is positive for the migrants.