Economic Swings, Political Instability and Migration in Kyrgyzstan

  • Victor Agadjanian
  • Evgenia Gorina


Individual-level migration responses to economic fluctuations and political instability remain poorly understood. Using nationally representative survey data from Kyrgyzstan, we look at variations in levels and propensities of internal and temporary international migration and relate them to changes in the economic and political environment in that Central Asian nation in the first decade of the century. A multinomial event history model predicting yearly risks of both types of migration detects no clear association of internal migration risks with episodes of heightened political instability but shows a decrease in those risks in response to the strongest economic shock of the observation period. In comparison, international migration risks, while also insensitive to political turmoil, appear to increase at the time of the most pronounced economic downturn. The results also point to instructive patterns in migration propensities by type of area of residence, education, gender, and ethnicity. These findings are interpreted in light of complex intersections of demography with politics, economy, and culture in this transitional Eurasian setting.


Internal migration Temporary international migration Economic and political instability Central Eurasia Kyrgyzstan 



The support of the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research (NCEEER), Grant #827-01, for data collection is gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Neither author has any conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval and Informed Consent

All procedures performed in the study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.School of Economic, Political and Policy SciencesUniversity of Texas at DallasDallasUSA

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