Trade-offs in destination choices among the urban populations in three Southeast Asian countries

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Internal migration of the urban population is substantial with diverse drivers, barriers, and reasons for destination choices. Whereas internal mobility in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries is well-studied under the umbrella of residential, labour, amenity, and retirement migration, such research in non-OECD countries is rare and limited to the economic aspects of migration. In this study, we assess the relative importance of social, environmental, and amenity factors in urban peoples' destination choices within three countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines) through an online survey. Concerns about safety and high living costs at potential destinations were among the most important factors in mobility decisions, whereas amenities were the least important. A high risk from climatic hazards, particularly from severe ones such as flooding and typhoons, was also an influential destination disincentive, particularly for people in Malaysia and the Philippines, that is, likely to grow in importance as climate change accelerates unabated. To maintain the attractiveness of highly exposed cities and regions to skilled people, urban planners must minimise these risks, for example, through crime control, flood disaster management, and early warning systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2460
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number8
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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