The Dynamics of Labor Migration in Taiwan: Evidence from the 1990 and 2000 Taiwan Population Censuses

  • Ji-Ping Lin Academia Sinica
Keywords: Labor Migration, Internal Migration, International Migration, Migration Dynamics, Regional Development


Based mainly on the 1990 and 2000 Taiwan Population Censuses, this research is intended to ascertain the dynamic features of labor migration and to assess its impact on regional human capital during the past two decades. In light of very low fertility and mortality rates, the growth of Taiwan's population has been gradually affected by growing international migration, with the metropolitan areas in northern Taiwan as the most favored destination. As opposed to the 1980s and early 1990s, the northern region has diminished substantially in attracting labor migrants; the most salient phenomenon could be attributed to the substantial outflows of long-distance labor migrants with less human capital from the Taipei area to agricultural prefectures in the central and southern regions. In spite of experiencing a transition from a net gain to a net loss of labor, the overall human capital in terms of quality in the northern region continues to benefit from the process of migration, as opposed to the situation in the remaining regions. The net loss of the less-educated domestic labor migrants in the Taipei area of the northern region is most likely due to the pushing effect on internal out-migration and discouraging effect on internal in-migration associated with voluminous concentration of immigrants in northern Taiwan.


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