Using election registration data to measure migration trends in South Africa
CSIR Policy Note
01 January 2017
The development of suitable policy and planning responses requires reliable, comparable and timely information which presents a problem as migration-specific surveys at national scale do not occur frequently in South Africa. The data collected nationally is not always sufficient when migration is analysed. The South African National Development Plan even indicated that data on migration into and within South Africa is poorly collected, weakly analysed and often deceptive. The plan noted that municipalities were often unable to respond effectively because they did not have sufficient recent data or the necessary skills to make sense of the data they have. Efforts to incorporate migration trends and data into long term policy will require better data and better data integration into planning processes.
Engagements with a number of municipalities indicated the need for more regular demographic data given the extent of settlement change observed - migration information was identified by these municipalities as a key data layer. After an initial search for suitable alternative migration data sources it was decided to approach the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to explore voter registration data as an alternative source for migration data.
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