How Has Covid-19 Impacted on Internal Migration across the Urban Hierarchy?

Miguel González-Leonardo , Centre d´Estudis Demogràfics
Antonio Lopez-Gay, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED), Universitat de Barcelona
Joaquin Recaño Valverde, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Francisco Rowe, University of Liverpool

Following the outbreak of the pandemic, governments implemented home confinements and restrictions on mobility that led to a decrease in the intensity of international migration and daily mobility. However, the impact of the pandemic on internal migration is still unknown. It has been suggested that low-density areas have become more attractive, but the lack of data so far has not allowed us to test this hypothesis. The aim of this research is to analyze the effect of the pandemic on internal migration between Spanish cities, suburban areas and rural municipalities in 2020. To do so, we use registers of population movements that enable us to explore the spatial patterns of internal migrations and the demographic profile of migrants. This dataset contains all changes of residence amongst 8,130 spatial units, which is not very common in most countries. Preliminary results confirm an increase in the attractiveness of rural areas during 2020, but mainly those located close to cities, especially the small villages. In addition, we observe a decrease of in-flows and a growth of out-flows in core cities. As this is a work in progress, we still do not know the profile of individuals who are moving to rural areas. Therefore, we want to explore their demographic characteristics by focusing on three dimensions: sex, age and place of birth. We hypothesise that such change is driven by a shift in the residential preferences of the native middle-aged population who seek low-density areas near cities to live in.

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 Presented in Session 51. Recent trends of internal migration