One of the major focus areas within stepSA has been Qualitative Research conducted by the HSRC to identify the implication of rural/urban migration within specific areas within the urban zone, and the implications thereof for service delivery policy and public investment. A result of the research has been the identification of settlement specific profiles to support housing and investment decision making for municipalities.


Migration & Labour Market Location Charts

Labour Market Access Envelopes

Insights & Findings

Research findings from in-depth household surveys, supplemented by GIS and transport supply data illustrates that key factors defining the settlement-mobility-livelihoods relationship are regional accessibility (relative to large urban centres and secondary towns), local accessibility, and household characteristics. Of particular importance to regional employment access is the spatial envelope of job opportunities that can be reached with the existing public transport network.

For key findings and implication on the implication of recent location, migration, labour market research and analyses conducted by the HSRC as part of the stepSA initiative: Read more >>

For in-migrants in the prevailing economy, not all of South Africa’s large cities appear to be providing employment effectively in their core zones. Findings suggest that for all South Africa’s urban centres averaged together, for the in-migrant poor the economic pull of the periphery aligning the indicators tends to be stronger than the pull of the core. It appears that the city core zones can still often perform well for the working poor and settled middle classes in the townships and backyards, who are already urban economy participants, but this does not seem to hold true for the in-migrant shacks population.

For findings related to zonal structuring in the rural space economy: Read more >>

For findings related to spatial location:

For implications on housing demand investment:


For more information on research and innovative analyses used to identify and understand the spatial dimension of migration and labour market choices in cities and settlement, see:

Access Envelope Technologies:

Methodologies to understand and depict implication of migration and population dynamics on settlement location choices: Read more >>

Other Resources

See the value of location specific understanding of migration dynamics in Gauteng: Read more >>


Core Team:

Catherine Cross, Stewart Ngandu (HSRC) and Dr Pieter Kok (Independent contractor)

Acknowledgement to contributors:

Sandeep Mahajan, Hans Binswanger (World Bank) and Joseph Makola, Thabo Raserope (Independent contractors)

For more information on the Migration and Labour Market Charts contact:

Catherine Cross, HSRC

Back to top