Discussion Paper no. 01-15


Although many facets of the migration phenomena in sub-Saharan Africa have been studied extensively, there is a paucity of research on residential mobility behavior of migrants. This exploratory study examines the residential mobility in Accra, Ghana, using a retrospective survey of randomly selected migrant households. To examine the direction of moves, Accra was delineated into three major zones: the inner city, former periphery and recent periphery. The results demonstrate that unlike studies elsewhere, the inner zone of Accra does not serve as the major port of entry for migrants. While the former periphery served as the zone of entry for the majority of the migrants in the past, the recent periphery has become the predominant entry point in recent years, and has also become the zone to which most home owners eventually move. This change in the zone of entry over time has been explained through a ‘push-pull’ framework. Also, there is a significant association between ethnicity and area of initial residence. With the exception of the Akans, there is a marked concentration of ethnic groups in certain sectors of the city. For instance, almost two thirds of the Mole-Dagbanis initially settled in the former periphery. Using a multinomial logit model to estimate the direction of residential movement, it was found that although the majority of movements were intra-sectoral, different trajectories were observed for renters and home owners. The policy implications of the findings and directions for further research are discussed.