The Duration of Residence Spells among Malawians: The Role of Established Family and Friend Connections at Migrants' Destinations

J Ethn Migr Stud. 2018;44(5):887-907. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2017.1329649. Epub 2017 May 23.


It is well-documented that established networks in a destination increase the chances of an individual moving to that destination, but rarely have migration scholars examined how these networks are linked to the duration of one's stay. This paper examines whether the presence of kin and/or friends known at a location prior to moving is associated with one's duration of residence. Presumably, having both kin and friends already at a destination will be associated with the longest residence spells, since migrants would likely maximize their access to diverse network resources. Using residence history data on 1069 Malawians from the Migration and Health in Malawi (MHM) Project from 2013, subtle gender differences emerge in this relationship via discrete-time event history analyses. Women who knew some friends, but no kin, prior to migrating have a significantly lower likelihood of moving away in any year compared to those who did not know anyone, or only kin. For men, knowing some friends, but no kin, does not represent a significantly lower likelihood of leaving compared to those who knew no one or only kin prior to migrating.

Keywords: Malawi; family; friends; migration; networks.