Differences in Mental Health among Migrants and Non-migrants in South Africa: Evidence from the National Income Dynamics Study

  • Hemish Govera University of the Western Cape
Keywords: Migration, Acculturation, Gender, Depression, Sociodemographic factors, South Africa


The literature associates migration with poor mental health outcomes. Despite extensive
empirical research in other countries, there is a paucity of research examining the
mental health consequences of migration in South Africa, and the factors that compound
the relationship between the two variables. The study objective was to evaluate
the differences in the mental health status of internal migrants and that of non-migrants
in South Africa with a special focus on depressive symptoms. The study considered
the influence of various vulnerability and sociodemographic factors such as
gender, age, educational attainment, race, income group, marital status and province
of residence. Mental health disorders are already considered the largest contributor to
the global disease burden. Hence, understanding the nature of the relationship between
migration and mental health is critical for public health prevention efforts. To make
the determination, the study applied descriptive analysis and logistic modelling based
on the South African National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) panel datasets of 2008,
2010, 2014/15 and 2017. Descriptive statistics were employed to derive the frequency
distribution of sociodemographic characteristics and migration factors. Logistic regression
analysis was used to assess the associations between depression, migration
and sociodemographic factors.

Author Biography

Hemish Govera, University of the Western Cape

University of the Western Cape, South Africa