Differences in Consumption Patterns Between Urban and Rural Migrant Households in Vietnam

Part of the Population Economics book series (POPULATION)


This chapter uses data from the Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey 2012 (VHLSS2012) and the Vietnam Rural–Urban Migration Survey 2013 (VRUMS2013) to study migrants’ consumption behaviour in the destination cities in Vietnam. Using ordinary least squares (OLS) and quantile regression, the author finds that overall consumption levels are considerably lower for migrant households without an urban household registration (ho khau). The gap is significantly large for non-food consumption, while it is almost negligible for food consumption. The difference in consumption behaviour between migrant and urban households is explained partly by the differences in sending remittances and precautionary saving behaviour between the two groups. Also, the existing gap at the top end of the consumption distribution implies that migrant households may not be able to fully catch up with their urban counterparts.


  1. Amuedo-Dorantes, C., & Pozo, S. (2006). Remittances as insurance: Evidence from Mexican immigrants. Journal of Population Economics, 19, 227–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Azzarri, C., & Zezza, A. (2011). International migration and nutritional outcomes in Tajikistan. Food Policy, 36(1).Google Scholar
  3. Beegle, K., Weerdt, J. D., & Dercon, S. (2011). Migration and economic mobility in Tanzania: Evidence from a tracking survey. Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(3), 1010–1033.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cao, G., Li, K., Wang, R., & Liu, T. (2017). Consumption structure of migrant workers’ families in China. China and World Economy, 25(4), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chamon, M., & Prasad, E. (2010). Why are saving rates of urban households in China rising? American Economic Journal—Macroeconomics, 2(1), 93–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Charles, K. K., Hurst, E., & Roussanov, N. (2009). Conspicuous consumption and race. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(2), 425–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen, B., Lu, M., & Zhong, N. (2012). Hukou and consumption heterogeneity: Migrants’ expenditure is depressed by institutional constraints in urban China. Social Science Research Network, 71003112, 0–42.Google Scholar
  8. Chen, B., Lu, M., & Zhong, N. (2015). How urban segregation distorts Chinese migrants’ consumption? World Development, 70, 133–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dang, N. A., Tacoli, C., & Hoang, X. T. (2003, June). Migration in Vietnam: A review of information on current trends and patterns, and their policy implications. Paper presented at the Regional Conference on Migration, Development and Pro-Poor Policy Choices in Asia, Dhaka.Google Scholar
  10. de Brauw, A., & Harigaya, T. (2007). Seasonal migration and improving living standards in Vietnam. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 89(2), 430–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dinh, V. T. N., & Pincus, J. (2011). Mobility and the measurement of well-being in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.Google Scholar
  12. Dreger, C., Wang, T., & Zhang, Y. (2014). Understanding Chinese consumption: The impact of hukou. BOFIT Discussion Papers No. 7.Google Scholar
  13. Fang, Z., & Sakellariou, C. (2016). Living standards inequality between migrants and local residents in urban China: A quantile decomposition. Contemporary Economic Policy, 34(2), 369–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. General Statistics Office (GSO). (2013). Consumer price index.
  15. Giles, J., & Yoo, K. (2007). Precautionary behavior, migrant networks, and household consumption decisions: An empirical analysis using household panel data from rural China. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 89(3), 534–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Karamba, W. R., Quiñones, E. J., & Winters, P. (2011). Migration and food consumption patterns in Ghana. Food Policy, 36(1), 41–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Le, B. D., & Nguyen, T. L. (2011). From countryside to cities: Socioeconomic impacts of migration in Vietnam. Hanoi: Workers’ Publishing House.Google Scholar
  18. Le, B. D., Tran, G. L., & Nguyen, T. P. T. (2011). Social protection for rural-urban migrants in Vietnam: Current situation, challenges and opportunities. Technical Report: CSP Research Report.
  19. Meng, X. (2003). Unemployment, consumption smoothing, and precautionary saving in urban China. Journal of Comparative Economics, 31(3), 465–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nguyen, V. C., & Pham, M. T. (2012). Are migrant households in large cities underpaid? Evidence from Vietnam. Personal RePEc Archive: Munich.Google Scholar
  21. Nguyen, M. C., & Winters, P. (2011). The impact of migration on food consumption patterns: The case of Vietnam. Food Policy, 36(1).Google Scholar
  22. Nguyen, T. P., Tran, N. T. M. T., Nguyen, T. N., & Oostendorp, R. (2008). Determinants and impacts of migration in Vietnam. Depocen Working Paper Series No. 2008/01.Google Scholar
  23. Nguyen, V. C., Van den Berg, M., & Lensink, R. (2011). The impact of work migration and non-work migration on household welfare, poverty and inequality: New evidence from Vietnam. The Economics of Transition, 19(4), 771–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Niimi, Y., Pham, T. H., & Reilly, B. (2009). Determinants of remittances: Recent evidence using data on internal migrants in Vietnam. Asian Economic Journal, 23(1), 19–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nivalainen, S. (2004). Determinants of family migration: Short moves vs. long moves. Journal of Population Economics, 17(1), 157–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Phan, D., & Coxhead, I. (2010). Inter-provincial migration and inequality during Vietnam’s transition. Journal of Development Economics, 91(1), 100–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Thu Le, H., & Booth, A. L. (2014). Inequality in Vietnamese urban–rural living standards, 1993–2006. Review of Income and Wealth, 60(4), 862–886.Google Scholar
  28. Winters, P., de Janvry, A., & Sadoulet, E. (2001). Family and community networks in Mexico–US migration. The Journal of Human Resources, 36(1), 159–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International and Development Economics, Crawford School of Public PolicyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations