Are Young Swedes Moving More? A Cohort Analysis of Internal Migration by Move Order

  • Aude BernardEmail author
  • Martin Kolk


While levels of migration within countries have 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 (i.e. the absence of migration), 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 30 years to 1980 and we compare the migration behaviour of the youngest cohort to that of their European counterparts. Of all 25 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 inter-county 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 that underpins the increase in inter-parish 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.


Internal migration Sweden Cohort analysis Completed migration rate Completed migration distribution Young adults 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Australian Research Council under ARC Early Career Discovery Project (DE160101574) and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (P17-0330:1).

Supplementary material

10680_2019_9542_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (39 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 38 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland Centre for Population Research, School of Earth and Environmental SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Demography Unit, Department of SociologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Centre for Cultural EvolutionStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Institute for Future StudiesStockholmSweden

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