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Why are young Swedes moving more? A cohort analysis of internal migration by move order

posted on 18.12.2019, 11:11 by Aude Bernard, Martin Kolk
Abstract: While levels of migration within countries has been trending down in a number of advanced economies, Sweden has recorded a rise in internal migration among young adults. An increase in aggregate migration levels can be the result of a decline in immobility, an increase in repeat movement or a combination of both. In this paper, we draw on retrospective survey and longitudinal register data to explore the demographic mechanisms underpinning the rise in internal migration among young Swedes born in the thirty years to 1980 and we compare the migration behaviour of the youngest cohort to that of their European counterparts. Of all 27 European countries, Sweden reports the highest level of migration among young adults, which is the result of very low immobility combined with high repeat movement. The increase in migration has been particularly pronounced for long-distance moves for the post 1970-cohorts. Analysis of order-specific components of migration shows that this is the result of a decrease in immobility combined with a modest rise in higher-order moves, whereas it is the rise in higher-order moves than underpins the increase in short-distance migration. This upswing has been accompanied by a shift in the ages at migration, characterised by an earlier start and later finish leading to a lengthening of the number of years young adults are mobile. The results indicate that change in migration behaviour is order specific, which underlines the need to collect and analyse migration by move order to obtain a reliable account of migration trends. In addition to providing explanations changes in migration behaviour among young adults Swedes, we propose methods for desegregating measures of internal mobility by migration order.


The Australian Research Council under ARC Early Career Discovery Project (DE160101574)

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (grant P17-0330:1)




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