PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (10): 1162-1170.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2010.10.002

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research Progresses on Migration Spatial Structure Modeling

LI Yang1,2, LIU Hui1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of ChineseAcademy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Online:2010-10-25 Published:2010-10-25


Migration spatial structure refers to the distribution patterns of migration in space, including magnitude, direction, mode and spatial distribution of the origin-destination of migration. It plays a significant role in the evolvement of the regional spatial structure and population projection. Based on the dissimilarity of the fundamental theories on migration, this paper systematically analyses the evolvement of the western classical models on migration via 3 aspects: spatial physics, spatial sociology and spatial economy, and evaluates their advantages and shortages scientifically. Spatial physics models are based on the law of gravity in physics. These series models underwent a process from simpleness to complexity. The theory basis is simple and therefore can be easily used in metric analysis. Differential variables have been added to the models, such as unemployment and wage or migration stock. However, spatial physics theory limits the cause of migration to macroscopical economy, not considering that the migration is the outcome of individuals' decision. Spatial sociology theory is distinguished by its concern with the attributes of individuals and focus on the migratory behavior of individuals. It includes push-pull model, intervening opportunities models, cost-benefit model, and expected earnings models. This kind of models well explains the cause mechanism of migration, however, a lack of spatial factor and unsuitable assumption to the developing countries are their limitations. The spatial economy theory combines geographic space and economy elements to describe complicated migration phenomenon, which is a landmark process. The spatial information such as the cost of job commuting with certain distance from job location to inhabitancy, the ground rent with certain distance from CBD, and the transportation cost was taken into account while modeling. By systematically unscrambling past studies on the methodologies of spatial structure of migration, this paper generalizes three major methodologies and techniques widely used in this field: (1) Mathematical model. It was widely used in the previous studies on migration spatial structure; all of the models mentioned above can be applied directly or being modified through mathematical means. (2) GIS spatial analysis. Firstly it makes the geo-simulation and visualization of migration possible; then some spatial variables related to location or distance can be estimated and ameliorated, for instance the rational expression of distance and spatialization of variable elements affecting migration. (3)MAS/CA. It is one of the key technologies that simulation model matches the real process of migration, integrating the modeling method of multi-anent system with cellular automata. Whereas the application to migration is not so prevalent due to the complexity of the transition rule. Based on summarizing the classical models and research methodologies, the paper ended with the authors’ personal constructive suggestions to Chinese migration spatial structure studies in the future.

Key words: prospect, review, theoretic model, migration spatial structure