Nonresident Family as a Motive for Migration

Brian J. Gillespie, University of Groningen
Clara H. Mulder , University of Groningen

Researchers often infer that long-distance moves within countries (also referred to as internal migration) are undertaken for employment and educational reasons. This paper identifies nonresident family as an important resource that motivates individuals to migrate to specific locations. Using a survey among internal migrants in Sweden aged 18-74 (N=4,909) we address the following questions: How prevalent are migration motives related to nonresident family? How is the likelihood of mentioning nonresident family as a migration motive associated with the distance to the closest family member after migration among those who lived far from family before the move? And how is this likelihood associated with such characteristics of migrants as age, gender, employment status and household status? We find that, although only 7% of the migrants mention nonresident family as a primary motive for moving, no less than 23% mention it as any motive. Among those who lived over 50 km from their closest child or parent before the move and within 20 km afterwards this is 54%. The likelihood of mentioning nonresident family increases with age, and is elevated among women, (former) students, retired people, those with children and those who are widowed. Our findings suggest that the common assumption that internal migration is related to employment and education needs to be nuanced. They also show that, if respondents are prompted to mention more than one migration motive, many do, and nonresident family is among the considerations around migration for many more migrants than recording only a primary motive would suggest.

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 Presented in Session 78. Flash Session Migration and Migrants