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Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English volume

Length of absence

Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English vol.
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Length of absence  (LENGTH of absence)

The study of spatial mobility 1 or geographic mobility 1 is concerned with the quantitative aspects of moves 2 made by individuals in geographic space. The distinguishing characteristic of migration 3 is that it involves a change in usual place of residence (310-6*) and implies movement across an administrative boundary. The administrative unit left by the migrant is the place of origin 4 or place of departure 4; the unit to which the migrant goes is the place of destination 5 or place of arrival 5. The concept of migration is often not applied to moves made by persons without a fixed place of residence, for example, nomads are excluded from the count of migrants in many countries. In practice it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between migration, which implies a relatively permanent change of residence, and temporary moves 6, except on the basis of criteria of length of absence 7 from the place of origin or duration of stay 8 at the place of destination. In general, geographic mobility does not include short-term trips which involve no change of usual residence, even though such moves may deserve study because of their economic and social importance. Commuting 9 involves the daily or weekly journey from place of residence to place of work or schooling; seasonal moves 10 have a yearly periodicity. Transits 11, which are moves across a territory to reach a destination, do not involve migration with respect to the territory crossed. Tourist traffic 12 or vacationing 12 also are not included in geographic mobility.

  • 1. Spatial mobility is distinguished from social mobility (920-4) and occupational mobility (921-3).
  • 3. Migration, n. - migrate, v. - migrant, n.: one who migrates, also used as adj. - migratory, adj.: pertaining to migration. The term migration refers to a process and cannot serve in English (in contrast to French) to describe a particular move; it is rarely used in the plural. Some authors view all residential mobility (803-6) as migration. For most, however, migratory moves involve the crossing of a boundary, and the administrative unit selected is called the migration defining area.
  • 5. The terms country of arrival and country of reception are appropriate when international migration is the subject of interest.
  • 9. Commute, v. - commuter, n.: one who regularly travels from his place of residence to his place of work. The expression journey to work is also used to describe this type of movement.
  • 10. Seasonal movement is more accurate than the frequently used term seasonal migration since these moves rarely involve a change of usual residence.