Volume 42 - Article 13 | Pages 399–410

Nonresident family as a motive for migration

By Brian Joseph Gillespie, Clara H. Mulder

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Date received:18 Nov 2019
Date published:26 Feb 2020
Word count:2613
Keywords:internal migration, nonresident family


Background: A great deal of research has focused on employment and educational reasons for migration. Recent research has also begun to explore social motives. However, we still know very little about the role of nonresident family for moving, especially over long distances.

Objective: We examine (1) the prevalence of nonresident family as a primary motive versus a secondary and location-based motive for migration, (2) moving away from family versus moving toward family, (3) how individuals’ reported family motives correspond to their actual migration toward family members, and (4) the sociodemographic characteristics of individuals who report family as a motive for migration.

Methods: The data were derived from the Swedish Motives for Moving survey, which is based on an analytic sample of 4,601 Swedish respondents who migrated at least 20 km in 2007. We present descriptive statistics and quotes to illustrate respondents’ reports of their migration motives. As a tool for sophisticated description, we also provide the results of logistic and ordered logistic regression models of mentioning nonresident family as a motive for moving.

Contribution: Common assumptions that internal migration is related to employment and education underestimate the importance of family as a motive. Moreover, nonresident family is among the secondary and location-based considerations for many more migrants than data on only primary motives might suggest. Reports of migration toward family are far more common than reports of migration away from family. We provide support for the assumption underlying previous work that moves toward family are indeed motivated by family considerations and not just a by-product of other considerations. Sociodemographic characteristics associated with reporting nonresident family are in line with expectations based on prior research and theory.

Author's Affiliation

Brian Joseph Gillespie - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, the Netherlands [Email]
Clara H. Mulder - Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, the Netherlands [Email]

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» Putting family centre stage: Ties to nonresident family, internal migration, and immobility
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» Differences in leaving home by individual and parental education among young adults in Europe
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» Family dynamics and housing: Conceptual issues and empirical findings
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» Geographical distances between adult children and their parents in the Netherlands
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» Population and housing: A two-sided relationship
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» A comparative analysis of leaving home in the United States, the Netherlands and West Germany
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