Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 915–936 | Cite as

Networks Versus Need: Drivers of Urban Out-Migration in the Brazilian Amazon

  • Heather F. Randell
  • Leah K. VanWey


As urbanization rates rise globally, it becomes increasingly important to understand the factors associated with urban out-migration. In this paper, we examine the drivers of urban out-migration among young adults in two medium-sized cities in the Brazilian Amazon—Altamira and Santarém—focusing on the roles of social capital, human capital, and socioeconomic deprivation. Using household survey data from 1,293 individuals in the two cities, we employ an event history model to assess factors associated with migration and a binary logit model to understand factors associated with remitting behavior. We find that in Altamira, migration tends to be an individual-level opportunistic strategy fostered by extra-local family networks, while in Santarém, migration tends to be a household-level strategy driven by socioeconomic deprivation and accompanied by remittances. These results indicate that urban out-migration in Brazil is a diverse social process, and that the relative roles of extra-local networks versus economic need can function quite differently between geographically proximate but historically and socioeconomically distinct cities.


Migration Urbanization Brazil Internal migration Family networks 


  1. Alonso, S. & Castro, E. (2005). The process of transformation of rural areas into urban areas in Altamira and its representation. In Small and medium size cities. Lima: Instituto del Bien Comun.Google Scholar
  2. Amorim, A. T. d. S. (2000). Santarém : uma síntese histórica [Santarém: a historical synthesis]. Canoas, RS: Editoria da ULBRA.Google Scholar
  3. Arruda, H. P. d. (1978). Colonização official e particular. Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária.Google Scholar
  4. Barbieri, A. F., Carr, D. L., & Bilsborrow, R. E. (2009). Migration within the frontier: The second generation colonization in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Population Research and Policy Review, 28(3), 291–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barros, R., Fox, L., & Mendonca, R. (1997). Female-headed households, poverty, and the welfare of children in urban Brazil. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 45(2), 231–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Browder, J. O., & Godfrey, B. J. (1990). Frontier urbanization in the Brazilian Amazon: A theoretical framework for urban transition. Yearbook. Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers, 56–66.Google Scholar
  7. Browder, J. O., & Godfrey, B. J. (1997). Rainforest cities: Urbanization, development, and globalization of the Brazilian Amazon. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cerrutti, M., & Massey, D. S. (2001). On the auspices of female migration from Mexico to the United States. Demography, 38(2), 187–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohen, B. (2006). Urbanization in developing countries: Current trends, future projections, and key challenges for sustainability. Technology in Society, 28(1–2), 63–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Comissão Executiva do Plano da Lavoura Cacaueira (CEPLAC) (2009). O Estado do Pará e a produção Brasileira de cacau. Accessed January 21, 2013.
  11. Confederação Nacional de Municípios (2011). Histórico Altamira, Pará. Accessed May 9, 2011.
  12. Costa, S. M. F., & Brondizio, E. (2009). Inter-urban dependency among Amazonian cities: Urban growth, infrastructure deficiencies, and socio-demographic networks. Redes, 14(3), 211–234.Google Scholar
  13. DaVanzo, J. (1981). Repeat migration, information costs, and location-specific capital. Population and Environment, 4(1), 45–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davis, B., Stecklov, G., & Winters, P. (2002). Domestic and international migration from rural Mexico: Disaggregating the effects of network structure and composition. Population Studies, 56(3), 291–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. de la Rocha, M. G., & Gantt, B. B. (1995). The urban family and poverty in Latin America. Latin American Perspectives, 22(2), 12–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. de Sá, M. E. R., da Costa, S. M. G., & de Oliveira Tavares, L. P. (2006). O rural-urbano em Santarém: Interfaces e territórios produtivos. In Ana Claudia Duarte Cardoso (Ed.), O rural e o urbano na Amazônia: Diferentes olhares em perspectivas. Belém: EDUFPA.Google Scholar
  17. Deléchat, C. (2001). International migration dynamics: The role of experience and social networks. Labour, 15(3), 457–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fearnside, P. M. (1984). Brazil’s Amazon settlement schemes: Conflicting objectives and human carrying capacity. Habitat International, 8(1), 45–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fussell, E., & Massey, D. S. (2004). The limits to cumulative causation: International migration from Mexican urban areas. Demography, 41(1), 151–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Garip, F. (2008). Social capital and migration: How do similar resources lead to divergent outcomes? Demography, 45(3), 591–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grandin, G. (2009). Fordlandia: The rise and fall of Henry Ford’s forgotten jungle city. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  22. Herrera, J. A., & Moreira, R. P. (2013). Restistência e confltos sociais na Amazônia Paraense: A luta contra o empreendimento Hidrelétrico de Belo Monte. Campo-Território, 8, 130–151.Google Scholar
  23. Hoddinott, J. (1994). A model of migration and remittances applied to Western Kenya. Oxford Economic Papers, 46(3), 459–476.Google Scholar
  24. IBGE. (2007). Contagem população 2007. Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística.Google Scholar
  25. IBGE. (2011). Cidades—Para. Accessed May 9, 2011.
  26. IBGE. (2012). Brazil demographic census 2010. Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE).Google Scholar
  27. IBGE. (2014). Estados—Pará. Accessed April 9, 2014.
  28. Kanaiaupuni, S. M. (2000). Reframing the migration question: An analysis of men, women, and gender in Mexico. Social Forces, 78(4), 1311–1347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Massey, D. S. (1987). Understanding Mexican migration to the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 92(6), 1372–1403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Massey, D. S. (1990). Social structure, household strategies, and the cumulative causation of migration. Population Index, 56(1), 3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Massey, D. S., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., & Taylor, J. E. (1993). Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal. Population and Development Review, 19(3), 431–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Massey, D. S., & Aysa, M. (2005). Social capital and international migration from Latin America. Paper presented at Expert Group Meeting on International Migration and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, Mexico City.Google Scholar
  33. Massey, D. S., & García España, F. (1987). The social process of international migration. Science, 237(4816), 733–738.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McKenzie, D., & Rapoport, H. (2007). Network effects and the dynamics of migration and inequality: Theory and evidence from Mexico. Journal of Development Economics, 84(1), 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Moran, E. (1981). Developing the Amazon. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Musgrove, P. (1980). Household size and composition, employment, and poverty in urban Latin America. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 28(2), 249–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Osili, U. O. (2007). Remittances and savings from international migration: Theory and evidence using a matched sample. Journal of Development Economics, 83(2), 446–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Palloni, A., Massey, D., Ceballos, M., Espinosa, K., & Spittel, M. (2001). Social capital and international migration: A test using information on family networks. American Journal of Sociology, 106(5), 1262–1298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Perz, S. G. (2002). Population growth and net migration in the Brazilian Legal Amazon, 1970–1996. In C. H. Wood & R. Porro (Eds.), Deforestation and land use in the Amazon (pp. 107–129). Gainesville: University Press of Florida.Google Scholar
  40. Perz, S. G., Leite, F., Simmons, C., Walker, R., Aldrich, S., & Caldas, M. (2010). Intraregional migration, direct action land reform, and new land settlements in the Brazilian Amazon. Bulletin of Latin American Research, 29(4), 459–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Prefeitura de Santarém (2012). Histórico do município. Accessed July 26, 2012.
  42. Prefeitura de Santarém (2013). Ciclos econômicos. Accessed January 21, 2013.
  43. Reed, H. E., Andrzejewski, C. S., & White, M. J. (2010). Men’s and women’s migration in coastal Ghana: An event history analysis. Demographic Research, 22(25), 771–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rose, N. (1980). A persisting misconception about the drought of 1958 in northeast Brazil. Climatic Change, 2(3), 299–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rose, D., & Charlton, K. E. (2002). Prevalence of household food poverty in South Africa: Results from a large, nationally representative survey. Public Health Nutrition, 5(03), 383–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Russell, J. A. (1942). Fordlandia and Belterra, rubber plantations on the Tapajos River. Economic Geography, 18, 125–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sana, M., & Massey, D. S. (2005). Household composition, family migration, and community context: Migrant remittances in four countries. Social Science Quarterly, 86(2), 509–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shefer, D., & Steinvortz, L. (1993). Rural-to-urban and urban-to-urban migration patterns in Colombia. Habitat International, 17(1), 133–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sjaastad, L. A. (1962). The costs and returns of human migration. The Journal of Political Economy, 70(5), 80–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stark, O., & Bloom, D. E. (1985). The new economics of labour migration. American Economic Review, 75(1), 191–196.Google Scholar
  51. Stark, O., & Lucas, R. E. B. (1988). Migration, remittances, and the family. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 36(3), 465–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Taylor, E. J. (1999). The new economics of labour migration and the role of remittances in the migration process. International Migration, 37(1), 63–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Taylor, J. E., & Martin, P. L. (2001). Human capital: Migration and rural population change. Handbook of Agricultural Economics, 1(A), 457–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Todaro, M. P. (1969). A model of labor migration and urban unemployment in less developed countries. The American Economic Review, 59(1), 138–148.Google Scholar
  55. Umbuzeiro, A., & Umbuzeiro, U. (2012). Altamira e sua História. Belém: Ponto Press Ltda.Google Scholar
  56. VanWey, L. K. (2004). Altruistic and contractual remittances between male and female migrants and households in rural Thailand. Demography, 41(4), 739–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. VanWey, L. K., D’Antona, A. O., & Brondizio, E. S. (2007). Household demographic change and land use/land cover change in the Brazilian Amazon. Population and Environment, 28(3), 163–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. VanWey, L. K., & Vithayathil, T. (2012). Off-farm work among rural households: A case study in the Brazilian Amazon. Rural Sociology, 78(1), 29–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. White, M., & Lindstrom, D. (2005). Internal migration. In D. L. Poston & M. Micklin (Eds.), Handbook of population (pp. 311–346). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. WinklerPrins, A. M. G. A. (2002). House-lot gardens in Santarém, Pará, Brazil: Linking rural with urban. Urban Ecosystems, 6(1), 43–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Winters, P., De Janvry, A., & Sadoulet, E. (2001). Family and community networks in Mexico-U.S. migration. Journal of Human Resources, 36(1), 159–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Xavier, T. M. B. S., & Xavier, A, F, S. (1984). Classificação de anos secos e chuvosos na Região Nordeste do Brasil e sua distribuição espacial. III Congresso Brasileiro de Meteorologia, Belo Horizonte, 267–275.Google Scholar
  63. Yoder, M. L., & Fuguitt, G. (1979). Urbanization, frontier growth, and population redistribution in Brazil. Luso-Brazilian Review, 16(1), 67–90.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Population Studies and Training CenterBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

Personalised recommendations