An eigenfunction based spatial filtering analysis of how socioeconomic and natural condition factors impact on different groups of people’s migration patterns in China

Authors: Danlin Yu*, Montclair State University, Yaojun Zhang, Renmin University of China
Topics: Migration, China, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Place attractivity, migration patterns, subgroups of people, eigenfunction based spatial filtering, spatial analysis, China
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Harding, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Migration and factors that impact on migration are one of the main research themes in demographic studies. Scholars often consider people’s migration patterns being driven by economic push-pull factors, natural disasters, geopolitical dynamics, and seeking of better quality of life, among others. Many studies, though consider a variety of factors ranging from socioeconomic to natural conditions, often pay limited attention to how those factors impact on different groups of people’s migration patterns. Understanding the factors’ different impacting strengths over different groups of people is important to devise appropriate demographic policies to better accommodate migrants’ needs and encourage regional sustainable development. The current study attempts to apply an eigenfunction based spatial filtering approach to investigate the relationships between a place’s attractivity to different sub-groups of migrants (younger labor forces, mature labor forces, retirees, relatively educated workers, less educated workers, male and female) and 12 socioeconomic and natural condition factors in China at the prefecture level. Results suggest that the ESF approach produces better data fit than regular ordinary least squares estimators. Tests against other types of spatial regression specifications also suggest that the ESF approach fits the data better. Agreeing with the common wisdom, for all subgroups of migrants, it seems places with better accessibility by roads, better economic opportunities , and relatively cooler average annual temperature are more attractive. Different sub-groups of migrants, however, are also attracted to places with different priorities and characteristics. The current study for the first time investigates the subtle migration differences among different population groups.

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