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Abstract

The research question is to assess the contribution of migration to rural livelihoods through remittances to the migration-sending rural households. The paper presents empirical findings from a household survey conducted in the Limpopo Province of South Africa in 1999/2000.The survey covering 585 households in 24 villages. The results indicate that migration is prevalent, and is a source of support for households to supplement their livelihood. The majority of migrants moved away from home to look for a job, with the first period of migration taking place between the ages of 15 and 30 (mean of 23). Remittances form a significant proportion (32%) of the total rural household income, surpassed only by salary and wage earnings (46%). Even though the amounts of remittances and their uses are extremely varied within and between countries, regions and even villages, they provide one of the important means through, which migrants maintain close links with the households left behind, and contribute significantly to the livelihood of a large proportion of the rural population. On the average, local wage and salary income contribute almost R17 230 per annum. This is by far the dominant source of income; it is followed by migrant remittances (cash and goods), which average R14,342 per annum.

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