As pointed out earlier, one of the weaknesses of the place-of-birth data is that they assume one single movement from the place of birth to the place of enumeration and, therefore, this approach to the study of migration does not give any indication about the residence at the time of the last move.

In order to obtain information on the last move, it is essential to ask about the place of last residence.

This information may then be classified in the following two categories: (i) Migrants whose place of last residence and place of present residence differ and (ii) Non-migrants who have never moved outside the area of their place of birth.

The data on the place of last residence identifies all migrants and covers all persons who had migrated at any time during their life-time.

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The data on the place of last residence may be used to measure migration in exactly the same way as data on the place of birth are used.

The data on the last residence are cross-classified with the data on the place of enumeration with a view to obtaining the volume of in-migration, out-migration and net migration between the place of origin and the place of destination.

The data on the place of last residence are more useful for analysis of migration, when cross-classified with the data on the duration of residence.

The important advantage of the data on the place of residence in the study of migration is that it reflects a direct movement from the place of origin to the place of destination.

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Place of Residence at a Fixed Prior Date

In some countries, a question about the residence on a specified date is included in the census questionnaire or in the sample survey questionnaire.

The replies obtained to those questions are useful in any study of migration, for “migration interval is clear-cut, migration status is determined by a comparison of residence at two definite points in time; and a migrant is defined as a person whose residence at the census date differs from his residence at the specified prior data.

Such information is very useful in analysing current migration and for computing the “period migration rate.” In a study conducted by the International institute for Population Studies, Bombay, 1965, on Rural Migration Patterns in South Maharashtra a question on the place of residence five years earlier (between 1961 and 1966) was put to all persons above the age of 4.

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The data indicated that the period migration rate (migrants per 100 persons at a fixed time) was higher for females (8.7 per cent) than for males (3.5 per cent).

Any measurement of migration on the basis of residence at a fixed prior date is simple and specific. It is, therefore, considered by many demographers to be a more satisfactory and useful measure for migration analysis than the measures based on place of birth data or last residence data.

Certain limitations of this approach, however, need to be noted. The possibility of inaccuracy in the data due to recall-lapse cannot be ruled out.

When the reference period for the question on the place of residence at a fixed prior date is not the same as that of the intercessor period, such data cannot be used for determining the components of intercessor population growth.