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Facebook Reveals: Lagos Leads Global Urban Migration


Coordinated migration over the world Source: FACEBOOK

Coordinated migration over the world. Source: FACEBOOK

Facebook, the social media platform which is used by over 15 per cent of the earth's population recently compared users' hometowns with their current residences to uncover the top 10 cities that had "coordinated migrations"- or the movement of large numbers of people from one place to another and Nigeria's economic centre led the pack.

The Facebook data science team found the top destinations around the world in countries that are rapidly urbanizing where at least 20 per cent of the population of one city had moved to another city.

The data found that Lagos grew 18.6 per cent between 2000 and 2012 as a destination city, with majority of the migrants estimated at 96 percent coming from within Nigeria.

Lagos is the smallest city in Nigeria in terms of land area, and has grown to become the largest city in the country with its population of over 20 million people. The United Nations Habitat has already predicated that the former capital city will be the third most populous megacity in the world by 2015 after Tokyo and Delhi respectively.

The coastal city is a major attraction for all in Africa's most populous country due its economic, social and political capacity and the massive infrastructural overhaul, currently undertaken by the state governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola.

Urbanization growth between 2000 and 2012 for the top coordinated migration destinations Source: FACEBOOK

Urbanization growth between 2000 and 2012 for the top coordinated migration destinations

According to Facebook data on coordinated migrations, the major driving forces for migration across the world is rapid urbanisation.

Istanbul was the second most popular city, recording 11.7 percent migration. A large proportion of migrants (84 percent) came from other parts of Turkey, with the rest originating from Eastern Europe countries such as Bulgaria (3 percent) and Macedonia (4 percent). The city of Bogota in Colombia came third, while Bangkok in Thailand was fourth and Accra ranked fifth.

Destination for coordinated migration is measured by the number of coordinated flows arriving to the city, rather than the total flows of migrations to the city.

"We believe that these migrations have cultural and political motives, on top of economical ones,' said Facebook.

"For instance, we observe migration from Bulgaria (with a considerable Turkish minority) and from majority-Muslim Bosnia.'

According to this data, countries such as India, Nigeria, and Turkey are becoming increasingly urban, with many people moving from rural areas into large cities such as Hyderabad and Chennai in India and Lagos in Nigeria. For most of the cities on the top 10 list, the megacity migrations are coming from within the same countries. But there are a few interesting patterns such as Kampala in Uganda, which is absorbing a significant number of people from towns in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the U.S. coordinated migrations tend to come from other countries, such as from Cuba to Miami and from Mexico to cities such as Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

The Facebook data however excludes China, where the social network is banned, but which has undergone the largest migration in human history.

A separate study used Facebook data to look more specifically at movements between countries, rather than cities. A team at Wolfram Research found major inflows of U.S. immigration from India, China and the UK.

This isn't the first time scientists have used Facebook to analyse migration trends. Two years ago, former Apple developer Pete Warden published a blog revealing data he scraped from public Facebook profiles. He initially shared the data with the world but later took it offline after a legal threat from Facebook. The social site said he had failed to obtain prior written permission.

About 1.19 billion people log onto Facebook each month and its state of the art technology enables the social network to know intimate details about most of these people – whether it is what they eat for lunch or who they spend most of their time with. While the concept is unnerving, the vast quantities of personal data can also provide insights about the world and how it's changing.

This article first appeared on cityVoice

Ayo Okulaja is a Lagos based multimedia journalist reporting for Premium Times and City Voice  He is a news junky, trained Soil Scientist whose is passionate about telling human angle stories and investigative journalism.