Life satisfaction and internal migration intention in South Africa

  • Chukwuedozie K Ajaero University of Nigeria, Nsukka
  • Nicole De Wet University of the Witwatersrand
Keywords: Intention to migrate, life satisfaction, migration, subjective well-being, South Africa


This study explored the relationship between satisfaction with life and internal migration intention in South Africa. Data were from three waves of the National Income Dynamics Surveys (NIDS) conducted in 2008, 2010, and 2012. Analyses of data were by descriptive statistics, Pearson Chi square, ordinary least square and binary logistic regressions. The regression coefficient of life satisfaction was 3.29 in 2008, 2.96 in 2010, and 3.10 in 2012. Well-being variables significantly predicted life satisfaction, even as life satisfaction was negatively correlated with intention to migrate. The significant predictor of life satisfaction was race while the intention to migrate was influenced by life satisfaction in 2008 (OR=0.95), 2010 (OR=1.06) and 2012 (OR=0.98). Other predictors of intention to migrate were age, race and educational status. These findings will be relevant in the assessment and evaluation of the efficacy of policy interventions and strategies aimed at improving satisfaction with life in the country.

Author Biographies

Chukwuedozie K Ajaero, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Department of Geography 15
Nicole De Wet, University of the Witwatersrand
Demography and Population Studies Programme