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Migrant Tracking Survey 2018 completed

After the first migrant tracking survey in 2010, TVSEP has carried out this survey again from July to September 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang City in Vietnam. Migrants were interviewed by trained enumerators at their home or work place using a tablet based questionnaire.

In Vietnam, 372 out of a total 692 migrants were interviewed which is equivalent to a response rate of over 50 %. In Greater Bangkok, the response rate was lower with 388 successful interviews out of a list of   998 migrants. The survey showed that tracking rural migrants is increasingly difficult in big cities due to a challenging work environment, severe transportation and time constraints and high mobility of respondents.

The migrants interviewed, are those reported in the 2017 wave of the TVSEP rural household survey. The migrant questionnaire focused on migration history, job history, housing conditions, shocks, remittances, expenditures, and wealth. It also included questions on personality traits (the Big Five) and ICT knowledge and use.

The data from the 2018 Migrant Survey is now available. In the following, a summary of some initial results is provided, so that researchers interested in using the data can get a first overview.

1) The main motivation for migration was job opportunities in the city (60 %) in Thailand whereas in Vietnam the main reason was education (41 %). Over 90 % of them pursue a university degree. In Thailand, only 15 % of the migrants came to study.

2) The average age of migrants in Thailand is 33 years and 26 in Vietnam.

3) As regards gender, 55 % of migrants in Thailand are female, whereas 43% are female in Vietnam.

4) Educational attainment of migrants in Vietnam is higher than in Thailand with 50 % having tertiary education in Vietnam and 30 % in Thailand.  

5) The civil status also differs between the two countries: in Thailand, 70 % of migrants are married while only 27 % are in Vietnam. 

6) In Thailand, the main sectors of employment are the industry sector (44 %) and the service sector (37 %). In Vietnam, the industry sector accounts for 41 % of migrants and the service sector for 33 %. In Vietnam, 45 of the 372 migrants are currently students (12%), whereas 16 of the 388 migrants in Thailand are currently students (4 %). In both countries, only a small share of migrants have their own businesses (self-employed) in the city. In Thailand, 11 % of migrants are self-employed (of which 98% are service sector businesses) and 8 % in are self-employed in Vietnam (of which 58 % are service sector businesses). In both countries, the share of migrants in a government job is low at around 2– 2.5 %.

7) Most migrants change their jobs since first arriving in the city (not including students). In Thailand, 72 % changed jobs and in Vietnam, it is a similar share with 74 %.

8) Changes in the employment sector since the migrant’s first job are much less frequent than changing within the sector. In Thailand 20% of migrants moved from industry to service sector and 13 % in Vietnam, which can be considered as improvement in their employment status.

9) Regarding their work position, only 14 % of migrants in Thailand reported that they currently hold a leading position while this is 9 % in Vietnam. Most of them (about 90 % in Vietnam and 60 % in Thailand) already started with a leading position when they first arrived.

10) Most migrants in both countries (90 % in Thailand and 84 % in Vietnam) regularly send remittance to their natal households in the village.


Data are now available for external users. If you are interested in using the data, please send an e-mail to: lippeifgb.uni-hannover.de